Dear Bates College: do you know what it’s like to fall in love?
I’m not talking about the sappy, weird kind, where two people meet each other and realize they’re meant to spend the rest of their life together. Gross.
I mean the other kind; the kind where you see a Twitpic, think the chick is totally hot, and realize that’s the only Twitter avatar you want to tweet at for the rest of your life. I’ve wanted that since I was a little boy surfing the dark corners of the internet, and I thought I had finally found that account earlier this year when I met Lennay Kekua through a Twitter mention.
I realize that might sound crazy. We’re all so young, and have so much to experience in life. But if you could have seen Lennay Kekua’s Twitter avatar, I think you’d understand. The moment I saw that tiny picture in the corner of the screen, I knew it was meant to be. She was the only one for my mentions.
The first few months were pretty crazy. I would tweet at her, and she would tweet back, just like that! Sometimes, she would even Direct Message me, for things that she only wanted me to see (yeah, I gets down like that). It was like living in a dream, except on a computer.
But it wasn’t all good. I remember the day Lennay was in her car accident. The moment I found out, I did what any serious boyfriend would do; I ran to my computer and tweeted at her. I even put in the hashtag #feelbetter, so she would know I was thinking of her. Because I care, you know? I’m not a doctor, but I’m pretty sure that my hashtag gave her the inspiration to fight her way out of her coma and back to the world.
Man, helping others feels great.
But that wasn’t the end of my struggles. You know what came next; the pain in her back, followed by her leukemia diagnosis. When I heard that, I just collapsed into a chair in my apartment and watched reruns of Seinfeld. I didn’t even have the energy to send her a text with a frowny face; that’s how down I was.
Imagine finding out the girl of your dreams, who you’ve been texting for months without ever meeting, has cancer. It devastated me. It tore me up so much that I never once went home to see her in the hospital. After all, there’s no emoticons for real life.
Her death motivated me more than I thought possible. I remember against Michigan State, on the day I found out about her passing, just sitting numb before the game thinking about dedicating the game to @LennayKekua. I mean, my grandmother’s death on the same day was sad and all, but my #girlfriend? It was devastating. I pray that none of you ever have to lose a Twitter follower like that.
You all know how this story ends. It turns out that @LennayKekua was actually a dude I went to high school with pretending to be my girlfriend. Essentially, I’m living every 45-year-old creep’s worst nightmare; that online babe is actually an online bro. All those #loveyou hashtags? Meaningless. All the phone conversations? Never happened. It was like the last six months were a lie. It was like I never actually had a serious, meaningful girlfriend. She was gone just like that; we never even became Facebook official.
I guess my advice is this. Be careful in online relationships. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s fallen madly in love with a Twitter account without ever meeting the person behind it. So, for all you hopeless romantics out there: stay strong. Because someday, that special account will tweet at you, and you’ll know that it’s real. After all, we’re all just looking for that #specialsomeone, aren’t we?