I never met Aaron, but I sure wanted to. We talked over the phone some, but texted more. He told me his plan was to move from his home in Canada down here to the southern state of Georgia, about an hour from my house. I told him when he got here, we'd have him over for a welcome dinner, and treat him like a king.
I made a friend in Aaron through Twitter, but he and I talked about becoming closer friends when he moved here. I felt like we would get along; he did as well. He struck me as quiet and kind; a thinker, but not one who shoved anything in your face. He was content to let people be their self. I liked that. I wanted to be more than his Twitter friend.
The first time he called me he was having trouble with a lawnmower. I had shared my cell number with him, but it was months before his call, so I was surprised when I answered the phone and he said, "It's Aaron. From Twitter." His Canadian accent was strong. I'm sure my southern drawl made him smile, even though I couldn't see his face.
He told me his lawnmower troubles, and that I seemed like the guy he should call for advice. I laughed. He laughed. I shared what I thought might be his problem. I'm still not sure if he ever got that mower running. I'm just glad he called.
I texted Aaron once and told him I wanted to take him to a Falcons game. He said, "What's that?" I told him it was our state's professional football team. He said he had never watched football, but would love to go. I told him to watch me, do what I do, and he'd fit right in. I'll always wish we could have made it to a game. I was planning on buying us both hot wings.
One time I tweeted about going to Atlanta with clothes and shoes for the homeless. Aaron messaged me saying he'd love to go with me when he moved here. It made me love him even more when he said that.
I did love Aaron; still do. I know that seems weird since I never met him in person, but he's one of those social "mediaites" that I felt was my - as we say here in Georgia - kinfolk.
Before Aaron deleted his Twitter account, I remember reading a thread where he was explaining to someone that he was taking a break from religion, so he could "breathe." In my mind I thought, "That's exactly how I feel." I wasn't brave enough, like Aaron, to say it in public.
I loved seeing pictures of Aaron smiling. In more recent pictures (2015) he looked happy. I'd been following him since around 2013 and he'd been through some rough stuff. So when I got a chance to see him smiling, it would make me smile.
Aaron posted a picture once about how he had given up alcohol and was sober. It was of a special coin saying he "did it." He was proud of that coin. I was proud for him. He became a drinker of ginger ale.
Whenever I saw Aaron sad, I was sad. When I saw him rejoicing, I rejoiced.
When I found out he passed away, it punched me in the gut. I hadn't texted him or spoken to him for a couple months.
I had been too "busy." I think we're all too busy.
You'll never know how much I wished I would have sent him a text before he died that just said, "Love you man."
Aaron trusted in Christ. He knew he was a sinner. All of us are, but some of us know it more than others. Aaron knew it, owned it, and didn't try to fake anything.
For some reason, I can see Aaron and I picking strawberries in the kingdom. We'll both be smiling. With red faces and full hearts.