– Photo by Gage Skidmore
The year? 2013. My task? To unite the hilariously funny, kind, adorable, superhero lovin’ actor Zachary Levi to the hidden love of his life, my hilariously funny, kind, adorable, superhero lovin’ cousin/roommate, Lady Candice. My plan? Utilize Twitter. I sent him a Tweet every day. Sometimes, two or three times a day. With wit and charm I introduced his soon-to-wife, my cousin, and mercilessly listed thousands of reasons why they should be together. Celebrities are normal people, folks. Having lived and worked in the entertainment industry in both Los Angeles and New York City, I came to realize that actors were regular, hard-working people searching for their own love story. Maybe Zachary was searching for his love too, and maybe, just maybe this was the answer. Thus, #ZacCan2013 was born and plans were in motion for Candice and Zachary to realize and declare their love for each other sometime during the year. Friends jumped on the tweeting bandwagon and joined in the unification process of these two fun, dancing-crazy kids.
Each day I waited. Would he return a tweet today? Would he? WOULD HE!?! Surely he knew who I was. I mean, I tweet him all the time, right? I wasn’t a purposeful stalker, not really. I simply was eager to unite two people who clearly needed to be together. Each uniquely composed tweet held promise and hope. Hours were spent plotting and planning and writing. Hours, I say. HOURS! Yet, there was no response. Silence screamed at me from Twitter, but I vowed to myself, “I will not be defeated! They will meet and their love will flow, damn it!”
Candice, superhero lovin’ gal she is, was scheduled to go to Comic-Con that June. I was seriously jumping as I just knew that this was the moment, their moment. She left with eager anticipation and I held fast to Twitter and all-things-stalkery for the Comic-Con schedule. We would find him. There was a heart-felt purpose in it, let me tell you. Like those hobbit boys searching for that ring or Harry seeking out how best to defeat Voldemort. Yes, I was on a relentless quest and expected all to be resolved by the end of Comic-Con. Sadly, she returned without a ring on her finger or even potential conversation had. Candice spoke of how Zachary had danced at Nerd HQ with fans and friends and how she paid for a photo with him to help support Operation Smile (see, kindness), but it was all fast and fleeting, and my #ZacCan2013 campaign was dying a slow, painful death.
Months rocked on. My tweets rocked on. Alas, nothing but chirping birds and broken dreams. I looked in the mirror with resolve. I had officially crossed over. I had become…pathetic. Even Candice, who had laughed with me along on the journey, was wavering in her support of my psychological attachment to #ZacCan2013.
That year, Candice and I decided to take a much-needed vacation to NYC over New Year’s. We could stay with friends, eat lots of food, dance on the subways, celebrate with Broadways shows, such as Newsies and…wait for it…First Date with the one, the only, Zachary Levi. Gasp! I would be close to him. My heart beat faster, my palms started to sweat; this was it, live or die, this would be the magical, romantic finale of my #ZacCan2013 adventure. I had concluded that if we met him post-show, I would immediately engage.
The first night we arrive in CT (staying with a friend – commuting to NYC) I awoke around 2am with a high fever and chills. The next day I was worse. Much worse. My friends headed into NYC and I was to join them that evening around 6 and then head to see First Date. I coughed, I ached, I was running an exceptionally high fever, but I didn’t care. Live or die, right? It was clear I was going to die, so I boarded the trained to the meet up point and after being screamed at by a little Asian lady with mental problems who’s bench I had apparently stole, I saw my friends. They ate and I attempted not to vomit by sitting quietly, waiting for my moment of encounter.
The theatre was packed and the audience pulled tightly against each other. I was in the middle of our row, sweating and praying to make it through. Weirdly enough, another little Asian women, a theatre usher wearing an unfashionable vest, screamed at me for placing my water bottle on the row in front of me. “I will report you! It will be all your fault!” With my ears ringing from her high-pitch voice and my expanding illness, I removed my bottle. My fellow mushed audience goers came to my aid hurling comments back to her on my behalf. I suddenly felt very loved. And obviously very sick if random stranger’s supportive shouting gave me comfort.
The show began and I attempted to pay attention. After all, Zachary was in front of me singing and dancing and being adorable. I looked at Candice who was swooning, laughing, and prancing in her seat. And I? I was about to hurl all over my supportive, mushed audience friends and in a rush of realization jumped from my seat, climbed over all of them (their support quickly morphed to one of disgruntlement) and ran to the nearest bathroom. Needless to say, I stayed in the bathroom vomiting and sweating on constant repeat. I couldn’t go back into the theatre, my body was barely alive at this point.
I left the bathroom and hobbled over to a nearby couch. Spilling my germs, I found my home and lay down. Theatre goers gave me odd looks as they came and went from the bathroom and lobby. Who was this sweating woman coughing and crying, spewing nonsensical comments to herself? I didn’t care. I was dying to the muffled singing of Zachary Levi with a determination to put the #ZacCan2013 mission to rest once and for all. He needed to know his love was here. He needed to meet her, fall for her, kiss her, and then promptly pay for me to excessively travel the world as thanks for introducing him to his love.
The show ended. People exited, and I extracted my quaking body from the couch. It was freezing outside. The kind of freezing only a New York City winter can bring you. Regardless, we discovered that Zachary was going to be signing autographs by the side door. Do we stay or go? One friend wasn’t game on staying and Candice, pulled by my near-death appearance verses her love was clearly waffling, and thus I made the executive decision. We had to stay. All my tweets, all those hours, all that investment had boiled down to this one, freezing moment. My moment.
The line was incredibly long. We stood, we waited, we sang, I coughed, and eventually, our phones died from exposure. Who knew batteries would drain from the cold? Hard lesson. We moved back further in line, praying a phone would work. Eventually, someone got her phone warm enough and working, and we finally arrived to him, to Zachary.
We were the last in line and as I stood waiting to meet him countless thoughts raced, “Do I tell him about Candice or not? Will he know who I am? Does he even care? Will he care? He should care. He better care. He must care! Wait, am I about to faint? I think I might faint. My body isn’t working well. Oh no, it’s almost time. Live or die, right? It’s time. Deep breath. Go for it!”
With Candice off to the side, I stood by myself in front of him, this Zachary Levi, my soon to be brother-in-law, of sorts. It was obvious he was cold and ready for this parade of fans to end. I didn’t care and I didn’t wait. I plunged. Grabbing him by both arms and pulling him to him I said, “Zachary! I have been tweeting you for months! Months! I firmly believe that the love of your life is my cousin. It’s Candice! She’s your one, Zachary! Your destiny and she’s here!” Bewildered, I saw him cut his eyes to a large, black man to his side. Bodyguard material. He thinks I ‘m a crazy fan, doesn’t he? Oh well, I’m about to show you some crazy. This super sick compiled with super ready for you to own up to your love story and fall for my cousin was becoming somewhat terrifying.
He pulled back, “Well, do you want a picture with your cousin?” I stood aghast. A picture with my cousin, he says? I said it aloud, trying to understand his words. I don’t want a picture with Candice. He wasn’t getting it. I was appalled.
“NO! I don’t want a picture with her. YOU need a picture with her! She’s the love of your life and you have to realize this!” Ugh. His eyes were glossy and perplexed, maybe it was from the freezing weather or maybe it was because a deranged, wide-eyed, sweating, hacking woman was hanging on to his body demanding he be in love with her cousin. I’ll let you decide. Somehow, a picture was taken of Zachary and I prior to his being shuffled past to the final fan, Candice. Poised with confidence and not exerting one ounce of craziness, Candice stood as she took her picture with her love and then smile sweetly as he waved to us all and walked back into the warmth of the theatre.
With my body ragging war against me, coughing, weary with fever, I stood frozen (almost literally), and watched the disintegration of #ZacCan2013, the love campaign that failed horribly. The train ride back to CT was a blur and the next several days fraught with a trip to the hospital, fluids, diagnosis of the flu, and the complete and utter nightmare of then passing it to both Candice and our host. None of us had gotten our flu shots, and none of us were well enough to venture back into the city after our First (and only) Date with Zachary Levi. The quest to meet Zachary and have him fall deeply in love with Candice went bust. Not only that, we were ill for weeks.
A week later it was reported that Zachary had to cancel a couple of shows. He had come down with the flu. I had accosted Zachary in the name of love that cold, snowy eve, and I feared we both walked away empty. However, I suppose this sweaty, spewing, coughing, crazy lady did leave a little of herself behind. A mark of illness, the last of the #ZacCan2013 campaign.
I still think Zachary and Candice are perfect for each other, a love story yet to be written. Alas, I have concluded that we are each in charge of writing our own love stories. Famous or not, chapters belong to the writer, and not the Tweeter determined to romance two distant hearts. One day, perhaps, they will meet under their own penning of words and brushing of shoulders, and I will smile and say, “I knew it all along.”