Kira Silver and Jesse Corinella are professional artists who live in Brooklyn, New York. They knew each other in high school, tried the adolescent dating thing but -- as these things so often go in the age of SATs and video games -- the relationship fizzled.
A couple of years later, the two were at different colleges and staying in touch via Facebook. In 2007, the Graffiti app came out, allowing people to draw things and post them on their friends' "Walls."
"I sent him the atomic jellyfish first," Silver recalled in an email to The Huffington Post.
The atomic jellyfish is not very romantic, being a hydrozoan creature experiencing with some dissatisfaction the fallout of a nuclear bombing. But it started something. Silver and Corinella began sending illustrations back and forth to one another using Facebook Graffiti. While nothing came of their puppy love in high school, using this app after they went away to college broke the ice. When they finally met again in person, well, things got real.
"We spent that night catching up with our friends, and once the night was done, I drove Kira back to her parents' house," Corinella told HuffPost. "We stayed in the car, chatting well into the pre-dawn hours. After sharing a really shy kiss, we said our goodbyes -- and were immediately smitten with one another."
"By 'shy kiss' Jesse means we made out hardcore in front of my parents' house," Silver corrected.
I'll pause here to offer a disclosure: I'm friends with Corinella and Silver. I'm working on a comic book with Corinella. So, I knew they were talented, but I couldn't believe my eyes when they showed me a trove of old Graffiti sketches they'd taken screenshots of and saved years ago. This was the app I had used to draw, like, crude pooping butts to send to my dumb friends in college. And they'd used it to brilliantly convey companionship, warmth and humor.
In the spirit of Valentine's Day, it reminded me that even the most minor exchanges can impact and shape your life in unexpected ways.
Yes, that's a vomit blast of a cliche, but it's true: A drawing app on Facebook is, in a sense, directly responsible for two human beings discovering that they love each other.
It'd be enough if their story stopped at "making out hardcore" -- but they've been together for eight years and have a cute, succulent-filled home together in New York City.
That's kind of magical.
You can see what made Facebook Graffiti kind of remarkable: If you were really dedicated, you could create some pretty impressive work, but it encouraged a casual, conversational tone since you were kicking drawings back and forth like chat messages. Silver worried about finals, Corinella said he was going to play Wii -- there was nothing super serious about any of it. You can see how the platform was conducive to flirting.
Eventually, Facebook overhauled its design and de-emphasized apps. Many still exist, but Graffiti folded years ago, pointing users instead to an archive website where you can view some of the best art ever made on the platform. Facebook declined to comment on the app when I reached out about it last week.
Before Graffiti was shuttered, though, Silver and Corinella became artistic pen pals, sending each other art and mix CDs in addition to the Facebook doodles.
"By Christmas, we'd begun a long-distance relationship between Delaware and Ohio," Corinella explained. "In order to keep in touch, we would send one another artwork, be it digital or analog."
So, a takeaway for the lovelorn: You never know when that Snapchat or tweet or status update might be the start of something really, really good. Even if they're kind of dumb. Heck, especially if they're kind of dumb.
Happy Valentine's Day.