the night I figured out what OnlyFans was (and came away with nothing but the fact that I am a complete idiot and don’t know what Technics are)

I got drunk and started Googling old high school friends. Some were dead, but someone I used to be close friends with I found on OnlyFans. Let me be the first to tell you that OnlyFans is NOT a website if you want to find cheap ceiling fans for your home. Holy shit, no! Definitely not the case. 

Look, I’m at fault here, I admit it – I was intrigued and I was weak. She got a shit ton of tattoos. Cut her hair. Seems more confident and she’s really enjoying herself in these pictures. Boy, were they creative! I’m no photographer but the things you can do now with initiative and a really good filter.

But I also felt sad. She was a smart kid. Last I knew, she had a full ride to one of those fancy colleges, studying biotechnology or Technics or something. I guess life beats you down – you realize you can make better money doing less work, which I can respect. And doing stuff like this, pictures and videos in all sorts of costumes – it gave her power. Which is what mattered. But I still felt sad. We used to eat lunch together.

Now, I don’t eat lunch with anyone.

Well, I kept drinking and looking at the photos. I know I was being creepy. But that’s not the point. It really isn’t. It’s about identity. And figuring out who people are. Who you are and how you react to someone who’s happy with themselves. So if anything, this is all a compliment to her. And so I did a stupid thing. I figured she wouldn’t remember who I was, so I signed up and decided to DM her. 

I wrote some long embarrassing missive about how great she looked, how proud I was of her, how glad I was to find out that OnlyFans was not a website dedicated to ceiling fans, and that not to think of me as some old lech, but as a supporter, and to keep doing what she was doing, because it gave her identity, it gave her power, and it was going to give her the confidence to finally become the person she dreamed of, and that she didn’t need a degree in Technics to find herself (later I found out that this was the Lego product line, but that’s beside the point here).

She never messaged back. I gave it a week. Whether she saw it, I have no idea. Whether it meant anything to her, I hope it did. There’s no way to know now. But there’s a lesson here. And the lesson here is to leave people be. No commenting, no judging, no trying to give them advice or a pat on the back when they never asked for it. If they want to take saucy photos and post them all over the internet, good for them. They can do that, you ignore it and shut up about it, you drink your drink, you have your sad moments of reflection, and you move the fuck on. 

It’s that easy. I promise.

Kevin Richard White’s fiction has appeared in Hobart, Rejection Letters, X-R-A-Y and Hypertext among other places. He is a Flash Fiction Associate Editor at Barren Magazine. He lives in Philadelphia. His Twitter is @misterkrw.

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