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I refreshed the account page over and over again. No user information available. I put my phone down and stared blankly at the ceiling. At 21, I didn’t think heartbreak would come in the form of a white screen.  

After a five-year hiatus in the fandom, I converted my personal Twitter account to a Seventeen stan account. The quarantine was slowly eating my sanity. Days were becoming repetitive and stressful. I felt I needed to connect with new people outside my usual circle.

My account was small at first. It was so I could meet people with the same interest. I had moots (mutuals) who would laugh with me over inside fandom jokes. It didn’t take long before I became completely attached to the app and the people I met there. And one fated day, when Carats (the fandom name) celebrated Seventeen’s win, a Twitter space was held.

I don’t usually join Spaces but I felt I had to that night. I found him there. The moment I heard his voice, I instantly felt a familiar ache in my chest. There was a sudden urge to close my eyes. Maybe it was the way he spoke, the cadence in his voice. He had a soft but firm tone, a sound I particularly like. Like a child opening a birthday present, I felt giddy, a wide smile painted on my face. I developed a sudden interest in the speaker, a guy with a common nickname: Dos.

Like a lovestruck puppy, I followed him and joined his voting team to get closer to him. His daily tweets made my day a whole lot better. Even his random rants and bickering with moots became my comfort read. The rare times he reacted to my messages or mentioned my username are bookmarked into my consciousness. I was in too deep, and I didn’t stop myself from falling. He became my favorite notification.

I knew I should’ve pulled back when I had the chance. In the back of my mind, I knew that nothing good comes out of liking someone I don’t personally know. In cyberspace, where everyone hides behind a made-up identity, I stupidly allowed my heart to beat for him. When he messaged me asking for help, I didn’t hesitate. I worked as one of the admins under his team for Seventeen. I never thought such an opportunity would present itself to me.

Our conversations became more frequent, and the air of awkwardness was soon gone as we poked jokes at each other. I admired his views and the way he calmly handled the team. My heart swelled with all these unspoken feelings. But I held it all in, afraid I might ruin my chances. I stayed silent, pretending his late-night messages didn’t make their way into my dreams. I started to look forward more to the hours I spent on Twitter, excited to be greeted by another command from him.

Then one day, he was gone. How did I fail to catch on to the underlying weird feeling attached to his heartwarming messages? I felt so stupid. I felt betrayed. I felt abandoned. Dos’ close friend and a fellow admin confirmed he was not returning. He deactivated his account. My hands trembled as I felt something hot form around my eyes. It took me a few minutes before I recovered my strength and tried sending him a message. Message not sent.

Who are you? Where can I find you? I angrily sent him my frustrations. Message not sent. Nothing. I know nothing about him. Fate played dirty, and I ended up bloody. I stared at the blank white screen that once had his profile. Days passed and my empty timeline further confirmed his absence. His voice that filled the gap inside my heart now left an even bigger cavity. My favorite notification was gone. All that’s left was the dreadful and tormenting feeling of emptiness as if he took a part of me when he disconnected.

What hurts the most isn’t him deactivating. Some of my friends do it all the time. The worst part about this whole thing is that there’s no chance I can connect with him again. In just a few clicks, one can simply cut all virtual ties they made. It was so easy to enter, so easy to leave. Somehow, life works that way, real or virtual. And so, I just got my heart broken at 21 by someone I didn’t know.

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