My Livejournal had a blue background. I was a Ravenclaw (of course, obviously). I wrote about my day-to-day and Harry Potter and movies for about 200 people I didn’t know. I had another Livejournal, though, and that one was locked. That’s where I actually wrote about my life. I wrote about my anxieties and my classes and my friends. I wrote about my crushes wistfully, tracking their every interaction with me, referring to them be their first initial only.

(I had a teacher who used to always complain about how busy he was, and he signed emails with his initials. “Now there’s an adult,” I had thought about him at the time. Later, he was caught kissing students.)

Does it matter now that M was named Mark? Nothing ever happened with us anyway.

How did I know to separate myself online? It’s like, I couldn’t drive, but I somehow knew there was the self seen and the self unseen. I’ve built an entire career on this separation. It’s a magic trick. Here is me, and here is me. In my planner, I refer to my girlfriend by initials only.

It almost goes without saying, but: the burner Livejournal was green.

Fran Hoepfner is a writer living in Chicago.