Sunday, May 22, appeared to be a regular day, like any other. But, clueless me, I should've known something had changed, even if the Earth didn't shatter. My Facebook friend Joshua posted a status detailed beyond his usual drinking coffee: "Joshua is drinking coffee and not surprised that nobody was saved in the Rapture. We didn't make the cut, people. Suck it up and go back to work."
I commented, "And get caught up on the unpaid bills. Darn. Or Yay." Hard to decide which would encourage him to step out of the coffee box more often. Normally, I ignore his stagnant drinking-coffee status, because it isn't polite to post, "Get a life and do something exciting with it." Considering the evidence here, I believe we can agree that if not the Rapture then something cosmic happened on May 21 .
A few moments later, my Blackberry vibrated. I received a Facebook message from Joshua: Hi, Lucy -- I'm in Pittsburgh this coming week. With any luck, I'll see Elsa Hightower! It has been 24 years ...
I messaged back: Please tell her hello and that I miss her. Safe trip to you.
Joshua replied: What was your maiden name? Sheesh. I can't remember.
Me: Blount. I know. It's been a long time.
Now here we were, barely able to breathe since the close call with the end times, filling the void with shallow chit-chat. I tend to find comfort in the superficial, but most other people prefer deeper friendships. Thus Joshua's next message: YES! I know we had very little interaction in high school, but I want you to know that I always thought well of you. You were nice and didn't bother me. You never know how people will react, but I'll take a gamble ... There was a gal in our class who liked you as well and would have loved to be friends. But this was the '80s and she was shy and scared. Please go to my friends list and send a friend invite to Janet Easton. Yes ... That is me. If you don't wish to connect, no hard feelings. Hugs, Janet.
I had absolutely no recollection of going to school with anyone named Janet Easton. Faces from long ago floated across my visual cortex, meeting up with names that loosened from gray matter on the other side of my skull. Janet didn't find a match. How could I have not noticed her throughout four years of high school? It proved that I am a dark-hearted, four-eyed, missile-throated, skunk-tailed witch. I scoured my yearbooks, searching for clues to this vaporous person's existence. Nothing. Not even a blue silhouette in a rectangle with her name next to it.
I read the message again. A dastardly possibility surfaced; one I had repressed, suppressed and denied. I tried to push it away, but it stayed put, looking at me expectantly, bug-eyed. I queried Joshua: I'm confused. What? Please elaborate.
He explained: Sorry for the confusion. I'm a crossdresser. Janet Easton is my femme name. If you send her an invite, you'll see she was out and about with Hal Simpkins and his wife in her mobile uploads.
Well dadgum, he stepped out of the box; got himself a life. Near-disasters bring on confessions, I suppose. I kept my cool, like all my best friends are crossdressers, responding: OK. Gotcha. I'll check her out.
The world didn't end, as predicted, but something in my personal universe definitely shifted. Janet and I are now Facebook friends. She sends me hugs. She gives me fashion tips. I envy her divine French manicure.
Joshua is drinking coffee.
Lucy Adams is the author of Tuck Your Skirt in Your Panties and Run. She lives in Thomson. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.