Please be aware that this story contains harsh language.

You’re in a bit of a predicament, because you have a number of important company documents to finish (papers, reports, analysis, and other terrifically exciting things), and of course, as soon as you really need your computer, it shuts down. You try to restart it. You try to boot up in safe mode. You try a reinstall of the OS, but that’s going to take a while.

You give your friend a call and ask him if he could lend you a hand, and by that, you really mean his computer. He agrees. He doesn’t know what he’s getting himself into.

You meet your friend at a coffee shop. “I only need it for about an hour or two,” you say. “No problem,” he says, “I’ll just hang out here while you work. I have some reading I need to get done.” He logs you on to his computer, pulls out a book, and starts to slide into his own world.

You open a word document and start typing away, copying and pasting from research you’ve done weeks ago. As usual, you get distracted. After writing a very poor introduction, and an even sloppier first half of your report, you decide it’s time to save your document, just in case. You aim for ‘Save Document,’ but on the way there, you stop at ‘Open Recent.’

One recent document is titled ‘Goals,’ one is titled ‘Self-Analysis,’ and one is titled ‘Tim is a fucking IDIOT’. You probably shouldn’t click on that one. And ‘Self-Analysis’ sounds too personal; at least that’s what you tell yourself. You click on ‘Goals.’ Goals are something he would share with me anyway, so there’s no harm in clicking on it.

But the file isn’t there anymore. It’s no longer found on the drive. The file information states that it’s original source was in a Dropbox folder. You don’t remember seeing a Dropbox folder, but maybe…

You check the root folder. There’s no Dropbox folder, but there’s another folder, and it catches your eye. It’s title is one word: ‘Life’.

Life is something your friend would share with you anyway, so there’s no harm in clicking on it. Another document appears, and you click on it.

A three-page synopsis and reflection on your friend’s life appears. Thoughts, fears, mistakes, improvements, self-reflection and fears.

He’s written about quite a lot of things that have happened in his life, and some of them, you read about for the first time. You read about the time he got punched by a kid on the bus on the way home from school after an argument. About his memory of the time he almost kissed Samantha, the most attractive girl he’d ever met. About the time he failed that fucking chemistry test, which in turn, was probably the reason he didn’t get into the school he wanted to go to.

You read about his fear of dying, even though he’s a Christian and believes that he’s going to heaven, you read about how he still wakes up in the middle of the night, in a cold sweat at the thought of dying. That part hits you for a moment, hard, because you’re an atheist, and you’ve never once thought about death. You read about all of his dreams, goals, and aspirations, as he sits across from you, lost deep inside some book. For a moment, you don’t feel like you’re reading about someone else, you feel like you’re reading about yourself. You’re supposed to be writing a terrifically exciting company report, and instead, you’re reading a three-page document filled with fears, mistakes, and self-reflection.

“Are you about wrapped up yet?” He asks, suddenly. You glance at the time. Three hours have passed.

“Uh. Yeah. Yeah, thanks a ton!” You say, trying to act like you haven’t been prying into his life.

“Did you finish your report?”

You nod.

“Yeah. I think I did.”

You’re lying, of course. But he doesn’t know that. Maybe if he pried into your computer and read your life synopsis, he’d know that too. But he can’t. You smile, and hand his laptop back to him.