READING – Ava’s Story

(Based on a true story… some details have been changed to protect the individuals involved)

Read-Aloud Audio

I remember the first message Elijah sent me. “Hey Ava, you seem like a cool person. I’m new here and looking to make friends.” It was simple, but to someone like me, who had always felt a bit on the outside, it meant the world.

I’m Ava, and this is my story.

Life had always been a bit of a struggle for me. I felt different, and sometimes those differences made me an easy target. So, when Elijah reached out, I felt like I had finally found someone who saw past all that. We talked about everything under the sun – music, movies, and the little quirks that made me, me. His words were a balm to my often troubled soul. “You’re not like other girls; you’re real and kind,” he’d say, making me feel like I was worth something.

Our conversations were my daily refuge. For the first time, I felt a connection that was genuine and uplifting. Elijah became my go-to person, someone who understood me. He was my biggest supporter, and although we hadn’t met in person, he was my best friend. 

But then, it all changed. Elijah’s messages, once my source of comfort, started to have a different tone. “I’ve heard some not-so-nice things about you,” he said one day, his words cutting through me. I couldn’t understand why he’d turn on me like this.

The messages kept coming, each one more hurtful. “People say you’re not really a good person,” he typed. I couldn’t believe it. Why would people say these things to him? The trust and friendship that I thought I had found in Elijah started to crumble.

I tried to defend myself, but my words fell on deaf ears. He was believing the lies and I couldn’t change his mind. “Maybe the world would be better off without you,” he cruelly suggested. That sentence echoed in my mind, overshadowing all the laughter and good times we’d shared.

In my moments of pain and confusion, I realized how alone I truly was. The friendship I thought I had with Elijah, my supposed haven, had become a source of deep anguish.

But Elijah wasn’t real. He was a fabrication, a hoax, a game of cruelty. He was a disguise used by a local girl from my area. A girl who saw my struggles as an opportunity to infiltrate my life and tear it apart.

If you’ve ever been the person behind the screen, the one crafting messages like the ones Elijah sent me, please remember my story. Know that the person on the other side of your screen is real, with real struggles and real feelings. Your words have immense power. They can change someone’s life for the better, or, like in my case, they can ruin someone’s life forever.

My story had a tragic ending, an ending I cannot share because I’m not here to tell it. But I hope it can be a lesson. A lesson in kindness, in empathy, and in the realization that we are all navigating our struggles. Let’s choose to be a light in each other’s lives, not the darkness that consumes.