August 25, 2005 waiting to hear from Christa

Now this could be a very cool story about all the different kinds of crushes a la Love Actually, but it isn’t. It isn’t even a cool teen thriller or coming of age show; rather it is what amounts to a journal entry if I were the kind of man who kept journals.

So there is puppy love and one-sided attraction; there is obsession and passing desire; there is misled hope and unfounded perception. And then there is bad timing. This is about bad timing – when you love someone and they don’t love you, then they love you but you don’t know they do, when you love each other, but don’t realize it. And life moves on. Oh and the complication happens when other people are involved; other loves, relationships, other happenings – children. Other crushes.

And there is the delusion of hope. I have come to view hope as one of the deadly evils. In mythology, Pandora slams the lid of the box shut after releasing all of earths evils, she traps in the box though one last thing – hope. Doesn’t that mean that it is a relief that it didn’t get out? That hope is actually one of the deadly evils? I mean think of it, hope can be good to keep you going, but it also strings you along when things don’t work out. It is insidious that way.

So crushes in adolescence are well-documented and outside the purview of this conversation. The adult crush is more insidiously masked. The attraction you have for another person as an adolescent is intended to help find a mate or try to find a mate. The inability to work this out often leads to friendship rather than relationship. The attraction you have for another person as an adult is really no different than as an adolescent, only now there are social taboos to negotiate – the first is the truism that attraction as an adult should indeed lead to mating, or rather “you can’t be friends with the opposite sex.” There is rationality in this – propagation of species and all that, but socially it does not allow for freedom of expression of attraction simply for the sake of attraction, which then results in often repressed feelings and neurosis.

Taking the idea of adult crush being the same as adolescent crush a little further – there is the attraction crush and the puppy love crush, one sexual, the other not. Actually there is also the impressed crush – meaning you are so impressed you fall for someone. Now we could have a whole second discussion on the merits of the reality of the platonic crush, but for now let it be defined that the platonic crush is indeed possible.

I never knew it was a crush until I realized it was futile. Until then it was “unrequited love,” romance and Hollywood kept alive by hope. It wasn’t until a 22 year-old, bright-eyed girl expressed an attraction to me without knowing who I was that I realized my own attraction to a different woman was a crush. Though there had been hours of phone calls and conversations, the nights of dreams and pages of paper were no substitute for actually being there and learning who the person was and how they felt.

I always assumed that the phone, the letter and the message could actually be deeper than conversation in person because it stripped away the affectation and phoniness that can come from the need to impress in person. It is like the 3 AM conversation stripping away the distractions of the day and coming to terms with another person, soul to soul. It is not the 3 AM feelings to consider though, it is whether you feel the same way at 3 PM as in the early morning. Don’t get me wrong, 3 AM feelings, and intimate conversations on the phone are not totally wrong in sincerity, but the simple look, the touch and the kiss are missing. The turn of the nose at the scent of the laundry detergent you are buying, the look while she stares at a cloud in thought, or how she yells at an errant driver on the road. With reality missing, it can only be good, the pedestal, the crush.

And so five years of beautiful honesty, truth and understanding become a fairytale without the tapestry of the mundane and the conversationally moribund. The deep soul-searching and chemistry are as much a figment upon a pedestal as the idea of the woman herself. The irony is that all the things we hope for that connection aren’t enough in and of themselves to make it real – without daily acceptance of a person idea of love means very little.

In the end there will be nothing.

I like to talk about how I will die at sixty if I never find anyone, but the reality is I will be unlikely to make it to forty if I don’t change my ways and start living life.

The many friends I have that I am attracted to temporarily fill a space that should be filled by wife and family. I hide behind these crushes to ignore the reality that there is indeed nothing for me. Without embracing that nothing, I’ll never get over the pedestal and never find anyone with which to have an honest relationship with.

You ask where is the story? The story is simple. I fell in love with a married woman. She at one point may have fallen in love with me, but the timing never worked out. It was a crush, and this is the end.