I told Kirsty I’d tell these stories one day, so here they are.
My first – proper – crush was ‘A’, and she didn’t look at me at all; I adored her for all the wrong, infantile reasons. We would have conversations which I would take away, manipulate and make myself feel good about things, and pretend like there was something reciprocal there.
Hah, what a lie. She crushed any such ideas swiftly, and I haven’t spoken to her in years. I got over it quick. Looking back now, it’s very much a “what were you thinking?” feeling.
She taught me to recognise shallowness, and that I should avoid it like the plague.
My second crush was also an ‘A’ (but a different ‘A’). She was as cute as a button, and I assumed that her ever-smiling face was her, and that it was all very chill. It was a time at which I could devote my time to obsessing over these things, and so I did.
I think I was probably even more of a fool this time – I took a small sample of her life and thought it was all I needed to know. I proved myself to be a bit of an ass at best, immature as before but only slightly wiser for it.
Eventually, it was all patched over. To this day however, if she turned to me and said “yes”, I’d gladly drop all else; she does stay that special to me.
She taught me not to assume or to obsess; it was a proper lesson, and one I bear in mind today.
The third came some time later – I’d let things lie for a year and more, and while there were occasional infatuations, nothing quite blew out to a full blown crush. Until ‘B’ (no, I’m not trying to go through the alphabet). This time, I was a lot more mature about things, or at least I told myself.
Every time I said her name, it’s like I could smell her close again. Mature? hah.
Maybe if I’d let things cruise as they were, slowly and inexorably, it would have played out differently. I made the mistake of impatience, of wanting to force the issue, and in the most amateurish way – almost by textbook. I was so nervous it felt like my stomach was shrinking into a black hole. On the surface, I played it cool (I heard my voice crack; “oh the folly!” my inner voice screamed), but afterwards I berated myself for moving so early.
We stayed friends, but somehow found ourselves drifting apart. I’d still gladly accompany her to the ends of the earth, but only because I know it’d be an adventure in her company.
She taught me how to open up and just be – it wasn’t a lesson learnt at the end, but rather continuously in her presence, and the reason that lay behind why I wanted to stay with her forever.
The fourth came amidst so many other things that it almost snuck up on me, as I realised that hang on, I really did feel something here. ‘E’ was … complex. Far more so than nearly any I’d encountered, in so many ways, and she was open about things too. I felt so comfortable, I wondered what might have happened in an alternative life.
We talked and talked and talked; the sun rose and the sun set and we had not a care for the hands of the clock, nor the demands of the world. We debated life and the actions of humans from a personal perspective to the global views. I was almost afraid she would bore of me and move on, leaving me in the lurch.
I never told her. I took the safe bet, to keep silent, and subsumed any feeling for the longer term goal; our continued friendship was something far more valuable.
She may know, she may not; this, indeed, may tell her clear. Perhaps time cleanses things, because now, I don’t have that same sheer intensity of feeling. I would gladly oblige her anything, if only to see her all-too-rare smile, to hear her crack another joke and we can laugh together to hold back the flood.
Her lesson to me? Patience.
Sure, there are and were others; ‘C’, ‘F’, ‘K’, another ‘C’, ‘M’, ‘L’, ‘H’, ‘J’, another ‘E’, another ‘F’, ‘O’, ‘N’, yet another ‘E’, ‘R’, even ‘T’, some might say; each, perhaps more infatuation than a serious crush, but each with their own little lesson for me – and all part of life as I know it.