She is many things, or was. I am uncertain on how to word it, either as past or present. I don't know. What I can say is that she was a friend. I'm certain of that, as our friendship was real and it is in the past. We'd parted ways more than three years ago and we'd barely spoken to one another, perhaps a handful or less of times since. Now her Second Life account is closed and she doesn't show up in search anymore. Her store is gone, it does show up in search but the destination is no longer available. I did a search on one of her alt's and yes, the alt account is still active, but the alt wasn't her nor was she the alt. In an attempt to find out what happened, I'd spoken to several mutual friends over the last few weeks to see if they had any knowledge of what had happened. None seemed to have had a clue and only one had attempted to find out. He called a phone number he had for her, but the calls were unanswered and left messages unreturned. I did a Google search on her name and thought perhaps one of the fashion blogs had written about her departure. I found none, only a few old articles and old forum posts.
"Who the Hell is", is/was the group tag she'd often worn, although I'd seen her wear others but infrequently. When I first saw it I admittedly became intrigued and realized after a few short exchanges that it was in connotation to Ayn Rand's character John Galt from the novel "Atlas Shrugged". She really did view herself in that way, and it depended upon which side of her wrath you were, as to whether you felt it true, or that she simply didn't grasp the subtlety of Ms Rand's objectivism. In one of our earliest conversations, she provided me some insight on her entry into Second Life. She came in with nothing, not much preconception of what it was like or what she could actually do. She had some experience as a seamstress in real life and a desire to learn how to design virtual clothing. Learn she did and it was for the most part self-taught. Over the course of time she'd even experienced a considerable amount of success in Second Life and derived her primary source of income from her sales. As success is wont to do, it fueled a desire to continue its pursuit and she did with investments and visions of her virtual creations being sold in real life. She did believe in her natural ability for the most part and that if she applied herself she could overcome anything. She knew only one direction, straight ahead and one speed, full, but she was also subject to a nagging self-doubt, and that it seemed was more evident as the fuel for her actions.
During the time when we were friends, I received a well rounded education on Second Life and in how to operate a business here. I also developed my sense of style and an appreciation for finely created virtual apparel. Afterward I remained an admirer of hers for what she had been able to accomplish. There are times when I regret what had happened to our friendship and other times not. It is part of life, both virtual and real, that there are beginnings and endings and so it was with us.
I don't know what happened that she left but didn't want her departure to go without mention. I don't know if she'll ever read or even hear of this post, but I'd decided to provide an imagined response.
Simone Stern rolls her eyes and utters a few choice words before she returns to work on her latest design.