30: My Online Crush

30: My Online Crush

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Just for Preteens

My Online Crush

A lie may take care of the present, but it has no future.

~Author Unknown

I had never actually seen a picture of Austin James. All I knew about him I learned from his profile information and my friend Whitney.

Whitney had gone on a cruise over spring break. We got together after she returned and she told me she had met a boy while on the cruise. My group of friends had a code: no dating until high school. I had broken the rule once, not only dating, but having my first kiss. When my friends found out, I had to break it off. But Whitney? How could she have a boyfriend?

Ironically, two days after the cruise, Austin got an online profile on a chat website. Whitney set us up to be friends and so we were. The two of us talked every day. He didn’t have a profile picture, but he had plenty of information in his profile description. I knew he had brown hair and blue eyes, he was captain of his football team and the lead guitar player in his band, as well as taking drum lessons. Austin was perfect.

I began to develop a little crush on him. I had my own idea of what he looked like. He told me every day that he thought Whitney was “so pretty,” and I thought I was prettier than Whitney. I hoped Austin would realize this and begin to like me instead. It was rude to Whitney, I knew, but it was so unfair. This guy was perfect.

The next time we talked, I insisted we talk about him instead of Whitney. But he still wanted to talk about her, and said he had something to tell me. This had to be good.

“Did Whitney ever tell you I kissed her?” he typed the words and I read them in horror. Whitney had been kissed? I had to tell someone.

So I told my mom. She wanted to see who this Austin James was. I said he didn’t have a profile picture. She then said I couldn’t have any online friends I didn’t know in person, especially if they didn’t have a profile picture. No. No. No! I wouldn’t let that happen. I blew up and started telling her that Whitney knew him. I was careful, and I never even talked about myself.

Then, something clicked for both me and my mom. Whitney was Austin James.

It made so much sense, I felt like an idiot for not catching it sooner. Whitney would never have a boyfriend or let him kiss her. She was much too shy. The two were never online at the same time and though I never did talk about myself, he seemed to know a lot about me. He was also just too perfect. Football, guitar, drums — all at thirteen. No way, Austin was too perfect.

That night, I didn’t go online at my usual time to talk to Austin. Whitney texted me, asking me to get on the computer because Austin was waiting to talk to me. I texted back that I would no longer be talking to Austin, because my mom wouldn’t let me. As bad as I wanted to, I didn’t call her out on her lie.

At school I refused to participate in any conversation involving Austin James. Whitney had already gotten a lot of attention from her made up boyfriend, and I wasn’t going to give her more. No one seemed to remember that I had dated and been kissed first. My friends had all been mad at me when they found out about my boyfriend, but they didn’t say anything about Whitney’s boyfriend. Some friends.

Either way, I had had a crush on a made up person — the idea of a dream boy. Though I never called Whitney out on the lie, I am sure she knew I had figured out who “Austin” was, because he didn’t talk to me or get online to chat anymore. The end of the school year was the last I saw of both of them: Austin and Whitney.

~Kyra Payne

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