Click to Subscribe - By L. M. Augustine
Half of the guys in my grade get girls with one flash of a smile. The other 49.999 percent either get straight A’s, college scholarships, or a million dollars from their so-rich-they-need-a-personal-chef-even-though-they-always-eat-out parents. And me? I get a camera and a broken heart.
Sunlight warms my back as I push open the front door and reach for my computer. Red and yellow leaves litter the entire front yard, and the poignant smell of autumn is everywhere. I breathe it in, smiling to myself. Everyone knows this is the best season. I mean, winter is all about snow and it’s common knowledge that snow stops being cute after the third time shoveling out the driveway. Spring is okay, although I’m mostly in it for the Girl Scout Cookies, and summer is too much fighting over which half-naked girl to flirt with next to be even halfway enjoyable. But autumn is cool, rich, and lively. Autumn is dancing in the leaves with that one person you can’t go without. Autumn is running and jumping in the wind. Autumn is smiling, kissing, loving.
Autumn is happy.
Well, at least it’s supposed to be.
Ever since Mom died, though, that whole “happy” thing has been more of a struggle for me than anything else in the world.
With another breath, I log into my computer, click over to my vlog page, and scroll through the fifty-something new comments on my latest video. Most are complimentary, despite the one troll who seems to think my incredibly gorgeous face (my words) is “fat.” Honestly, I’m not entirely sure how a face can be fat, but okay.
After a quick skim, I already know none of the comments is the one I’m looking for, though.
I started my vlog two and a half years ago as a high school freshman with too much free time and not enough friends to spend it with. Mom used to call it my “imaginary friend” or my “replacement friend,” but if that’s true, this vlog is one badass imaginary friend. Not too many imaginary friends come with over one-hundred-thousand subscribers.
I check my watch—2:01. She should be commenting by now.
She. Harper. The girl who comments every day at exactly 2:02 in the afternoon, and who is one of the few bright spots left in my life. I don’t know what she looks like or anything about her, really, aside from our occasional deep philosophical messaging on why pizza tastes so delicious and the fact that she says she lives in the same state as I do. But as stupid as it sounds, I can’t stop thinking about her. Can’t stop picturing what she looks like, how she smiles, talks, laughs, or even how her lips taste in the moonlight. (I just hope like hell she isn’t actually a fifty-year-old man pretending to be a sixteen-year-old girl because talk about awkward.) Sometimes I even wonder what it would be like to see her every day, to have her sit next to me and make fun of me for my taste in cupcakes (pink frosting for the win), to just laugh and talk with her until the world melts away.
I refresh the page and check the time again. 2:02. Where is her comment?
It doesn’t come until a few seconds later. As a response to my video about love notes in class, “HarperLikesPizza,” whose profile is complete with an avatar of a cow riding a bicycle while simultaneously eating pizza, wrote, “I got a love note once during Spanish class in seventh grade. I’m pretty sure it said I was hotter than a frozen potato.”
I smile to myself. Together, Harper and I are the dorkiest people in existence, and I can’t help but love it. It doesn’t even matter that her comments are so short. Every interaction with her, no matter how small or pointless, is worth its weight in gold. She could probably lecture me on how a refrigerator works and it still would be awesome.
That’s just how she is, though: awesome. Perfect. Mine.
I scroll the mouse across the page and click over to message her. A few months back, when our friendship really started to grow and we needed a place to talk outside of comments and emails, Harper and I made this chatroom for each other. Only we have access to it, and it’s basically our own little corner of the internet to talk about the history of the tomatoes and not care about the stupidity of it, because we’re talking with each other. Sometimes, when I’m bored, I