Even my close friends don't know how much money I make. But amaclin@ezmail.com does. She also knows the amounts of my health insurance premiums, retirement contributions, and bimonthly donations to the United Way (I hope she doesn't think I'm cheap).

We first met when I was scanning some personal documents at the office and emailing them to myself—or so I thought. I punched in the wrong address, a hybrid of my work and private accounts, and thus sent my payroll stubs to the inbox of amaclin@ezmail.com, a stranger in cyberspace. She forwarded them to me with a note: "Are these yours?"

I won't reveal amaclin's first name or her real address, which isn't actually at ezmail. I don't want to make her mad because she knows where I live. And the last four digits of my Social Security number. And the fact that I ate a turkey sandwich on October 28 and put it on my corporate card. For some reason, I keep accidentally sending her information. Another thing she can tell you about me: I don't learn from my mistakes.

When my mother broke her ankle, amaclin got the rehab facility admittance forms. She found out that my parents are divorced, that my mother has not recently been in Sierra Leone, and that it would be okay with me if they took out any feeding tube after a "defined trial period." Amaclin, I swear—it's what she would want! (Amaclin knows I have guilt issues. She's seen my psychiatry bills.)

Every time she'd forwarded one of my misdirected messages, I'd replied with a businesslike "Thanks!" But that day, I was so frazzled and grateful that I wrote what I felt: "Bless you." She wrote back, "A. Maclins are the best :)" It seemed like her way of saying, "Hang in there."

In Sunday school, they told us that God knows us so well, he's counted all the hairs on our head. I'd always found that unnerving, like he had me under surveillance. But at that moment, I understood. I was glad to have amaclin, an unseen benevolent presence who knew all about me and cared about me just the same.


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