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  • Writer's pictureCathryn Grant

3-Minute Fiction: Request Denied

The plastic card scraped across the formica counter as Wendy swept the crumbs from her bagel into her hand and sprinkled them into the trash. She spoke without turning. “You didn’t accept my friend request.”

Silvie was pretty sure this was not how it was supposed to work. You connected online, not by dragging pieces of your virtual world into the physical spaces of your life.

Wendy turned. “Well?”

“I’m not sure.”

“Not sure about what?”

“I’m not very social.”

Wendy laughed. “I already know that. So get on there and become my friend and you’re one step closer to be more social.” She giggled. “What would you do without me?”

Silvie stared at the brown eyes boring into hers, the thick liner painted with expert precision, the carefully arched brows, and the feathering brush of thickened eyelashes. Wendy had gorgeous eyes, but there was a manic quality to them.

Manic? Or dead? She wasn’t sure which. When she looked into Wendy’s eyes, she felt no one was looking back.

“I don’t use social media that much. I’m not sure what the point of being friends would be.”

“Because we’re friends at work, right?”

“Yes. So why…”

“You don’t know what you’re missing out on. It’s fun. Don’t make it sound like a chore.”

Silvie scooped peach yogurt out of the container and put it into her mouth. She let the soft, mildly sweet liquid glide across her tongue. “I’ll think about it.”

Wendy rolled her eyes, letting the whites overcome the dark brown centers. “You’re making me wish I hand’t bothered.”

Silvie ate the last of her yogurt.

The bagel popped out of the toaster. Wendy grabbed it, squealing at the heat. She dropped the two pieces onto the plate and slathered whipped cream cheese across the open faces. “Whatever. It doesn’t matter to me.” She picked up the plate and carried it out of the break room.

Silvie dropped her yogurt container into the trash. She washed and dried the spoon and put it into her food carrier. She turned and stared out at the trees planted close to the window. It looked so peaceful out there. She liked that the company allowed the natural world to creep up close to the building, almost making you forget about the vast parking lot beyond.

Facebook terrified her. That was the truth. She thought of the people she was associated with there — family, friends. Her parents, both gone from cancer. Two aunts, one killed in a car accident, the other lost to a fall during a treacherous hike. She thought of all the people whose faces she saw in the digital world, people who no longer existed, yet their pages and photographs and silly comments and memories lived there forever.

Sometimes, logging onto Facebook felt like stepping inside the cold stone walls of a mausoleum.

How long, she wondered, until the dead outnumbered the living on Facebook?

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