A Series Of Crushes I Still Haven’t Gotten Over

He was my childhood sweetheart, my first crush, the first date I ever had. I’ve been told I idealize the people I have feelings for, and he is the perfect example — there was nothing he could do to dissuade me. I haven’t seen him in five years, but I heard he recently came out as gay and lives in a nice place with his boyfriend and a cat. I’m happy for him, but dear god, that boy still pulls on my heartstrings all the same.

* * *

I have a crush on my barista, which isn’t a surprise to anyone, because I pretty much crush on every barista I meet. (I hypothesize that it has to do with the fact that they’re the ones who provide me with life-giving doses of caffeine, but it also may be because baristas are just hotter than the average human.) But this specific barista always remembers my name and my favorite orders and asks me about my dog the moment I enter the door. Sometimes he slips me a drink for free with cute little notes written on the cup like a goddamn modern-day Casanova.

* * *

There were only six people in our Italian class and he was by far the hottest, which is how I decided we were going to be friends. When I told him he looked like a character straight out of The O.C., he only raised his eyebrows and said thank you, but he grew to like me all the same. Study sessions were mostly just a good excuse to hang out and class assignments just gave us the opportunity to talk. I still smile when I think of those nights we spent in the quiet section of the library, slipping each other notes and trying hard not to laugh. We lost contact when I graduated, but I saw him at IKEA with his new girlfriend a few months ago and immediately turned around. I think he’s someone I like better in my memories, anyway.

* * *

He is a friend of a friend who I met on a drunken night two years ago. For some reason, that’s a common theme in our relationship. We don’t really text, don’t really hang out in the daylight, but we always manage to run into each other when we’re out at the bars and shitfaced. He always finds me first, hugs me tightly for a few moments too long, then lingers by my side for the rest of the night. We always pretend to forget in the morning, but each time I see him moving toward me in a crowd, gin and tonic in hand, the whole world lights up around me.

* * *

We’re good friends, but he’s fun to flirt with. Something always changes a little whenever we both happen to be single. Is that a crush or just an inevitability?

* * *

I have a really bad habit of nicknaming my crushes because it’s easier for my friends to remember who I’m talking about when I’m not using basic names like “Nick” or “Josh.” I called him “Hot Neighbor.” I still do, even though it’s been at least five years since we lived in the same city. Back then he used to show up at my apartment unannounced, pizza and games in hand. He would neg me into taking shots of Everclear with him, but once the room would start to spin around me, he’d disappear without a trace. He was always the ultimate fantasy, almost attainable but not quite. When his name pops up on my phone, the room still starts to spin a little.

* * *

We hung out every Valentine’s Day on accident, which seems a little too suspicious to really be a coincidence. I think we both wanted to spend it together but were too afraid to just say it, afraid to break the weird jittery spell that always surrounded us by putting our actual feelings into words. We spoke in subtexts and spent more time trying to read each other’s minds than actually communicating, but if I could do it all over again, damn it, I would. 

* * *

When I first met him years ago, we barely spoke, but even then I could tell there was just something about him. Now that I know him better, I’m sure of it. Everything he does is so fucking cute and I just can’t seem to get over it. I don’t know if I want to. TC mark

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