I didn’t understand how crushes worked. I didn’t understand how you could pass someone and feel a fluttering like butterflies in your stomach. Girls would tell me of the guys they liked and giggle and blush over them and I would wonder, with a certain envy, that I’d never felt that before.

When we ask what it means to be in love, people always say, “Oh, you’ll just know!” Obviously, I thought, I’ve never been in love.

I wondered where was the line between liking someone, and being attracted to someone, and having a crush, and being in love, and being infatuated.

I thought a lot about something I’d never understood, never felt, until now.


A lot of people don’t believe in love at first sight. They say it’s just lust.

I don’t know. Maybe love at first sight won’t last and maybe it’s a bad basis for marriage. But it’s not just lust.

I know that. I’ve felt it and it’s not, it’s not lust.

Well, to be fair, I didn’t feel “love at first sight”, but the whole thing I’ve felt is as ridiculous and senseless and unlikely that I could well imagine how a mere glance could send someone into the spiralling that is falling in love.

I didn’t feel anything for him at first. I thought he was a cute, sort of nerdy guy. And that was it.

It wasn’t like I was consumed with lust or anything. He’s cute but there are a lot of better looking guys.

I knew we wouldn’t be good together. He was completely indifferent to me. He didn’t like me, didn’t hate me either. He would joke with his friends; he never did that with me. With me, he was always frustratingly polite.

We don’t have good chemistry. We have little, maybe close to nothing, in common. He’s not even a very nice person. He makes insensitive, almost heartless jokes sometimes. I’ve got no reason to like him.

How can I explain what happened when I can’t even understand it myself?

After I had first met him, I would watch him where he would lie on the ground and close his eyes, as he liked to do. I would look at his smooth decidedly unmanly cheeks and jaws and his curls, and he was adorable, and sometimes I would watch as his mouth broke into a smile, crooked teeth and all, and I guess that was how it all happened.

It happened. That’s all I can say. I have no reason. I had no reason. But it happened.

And what’s more, I didn’t want it.

Talking to him doesn’t bring me joy. He talks to me enough that I can’t forget his face or his voice or his manner, but not enough to calm my heart, and tell it that yes he does like you, even just as a friend, and yes, he does notice you are alive and he does think you are a nice person and it’s okay.

It’s okay.

All that comes from this crush is pain. I didn’t know it would be like this.

I first realised my feelings one night when I lay in bed and my heart was aching because he didn’t care for me and I was thinking, crazy as it sounds, I would rather he hated me because at least he’d be paying some attention to me. Then, I realised how crazy that sounded and I began to wonder why the hell I cared what he thought of me, one way or another. And the words formed in my head: I totally have a crush on him.

I berate myself. I tell myself that it’s ridiculous to hurt over something like this. I know we’re not compatible and high school infatuation doesn’t last and it’s pointless to get invested in something like this. But I can’t help it. I can’t help the way my heart feels like someone’s squeezing it, whenever I think of him. I can’t help that I feel so much in my chest whenever I hear a love song.

I like to think I’m realistic, and I do think I am. I have said he’s not perfect. I have said he is very imperfect. He’s not a particularly nice person. There are a lot of boys nicer than him, that I would do well to pick instead. He’s not particularly anything. I would even say, there’s nothing special about him – nothing I know now, for sure. I don’t know even what I would talk about with him – heck, would he even talk to me? If he ever treated me badly, I would leave him. I feel sure of that.

And yet – and yet – I am a hopeless romantic and I know if he said he loved me – that he felt for me the same way I feel for him – it would be too much.

I can’t help it. He’d have my heart.


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