You know the drill. You meet; you fall in ‘like’. Maybe you develop a romantic history (drunk sex, a date, a dance floor pash), or maybe you just admire them from afar. You feel like if they were a pop star you’d put a poster of their face on your wall and blow it kisses before you fell asleep to dream about them all night. If you were in high school you’d write their name on all your folders and do love equations with both your names. And if they liked you as much as you liked them you’d be the happiest little Vegemite that ever did live.
But—and here’s the dramatic twist—the person you crush doesn’t always crush you back. Most of the time, they don’t even know you crush them because you’re a massive pussy and don’t want to tell them for fear of public shaming. Sometimes, they do know, but they might be a bit of a dick or an attention whore who leads you on without ever following through. Or maybe they’re a massive pussy too, and genuinely want to retain a friendly relationship with you, so they don’t say anything about it either. Enter elephant, stage right.
And this is how it feels: when your phone vibrates and you see your crush’s name announcing a text message you hold your breath—you don’t mean to but it unconsciously gets caught in your throat—while it opens. Sometimes you wont be able to bring yourself to look, and you’ll push your phone aside and attempt to distract yourself with something else but the phone will be there, glaring at you, making it so you wont be able to think about anything else. You’ll read the text message and every word will be like candy; you’ll eat it up, ravenously, looking for hidden meanings that most certainly are not there. A simple “how are you?” will become loaded with the weight of a thousand hopeful hearts and depending on your level of crazy this will read as anything from “my crush cares about me, how nice” to “OMG my crush totally crushes me too and by the end of the weekend they’ll be licking honey from my nipples while I read love poems in a field filled with daisies!”
When you finally see your crush you won’t be able to take your eyes off them but you won’t be able to look at them either. It will be very confusing for your eyeballs, and you’ll wonder if your eyes will look as frantic as Joey’s always did in Dawson’s Creek. You’ll laugh at all their jokes and try to say smart things you think they’ll like, but in the end you’ll probably just get really drunk because you’re so nervous and make accidentally racist jokes instead. Every time you accidentally or drunkenly brush arms you’ll feel electric and quietly obsess that maybe it was an intentional touch on your crush’s part, and wonder if they felt electric too. You’ll feel compelled to be near them the whole time but also like you should be aloof and unavailable—in short, a thousand, very confusing, contradictory thoughts will be racing through your head at once, and you feel like you’ll explode with your neurosis. Meanwhile, they will have no idea of the insanity taking place in your brain, which will make it all the more frustrating.
You will play a heavy friend card to throw them off your scent. You’ll think it’s working, but most times it’s probably not working the exact way you want—you might end up making yourself looking like a giant slut or an emotional mess. You’ll also have to deal with hearing friend-type information from your crush which might make you feel like you’re dying inside, but you’ll have to receive it with warmth and impartial advice to maintain your façade.
When you’re alone you’ll stalk their Facebook and fantasize about what it would be like if you were a couple while you play songs by The Cars. You’ll be a bit sad, but it’s only a crush so you’ll get along with it, maybe even flirt with other people and indulge in the odd hook up. Your crush will always be in the back of your mind, compartmentalized neatly into your “too hard” box and pushed right to the back of your head. Eventually, something will click into place and you won’t bring that box out anymore, not even on rainy days. Maybe you’ll just naturally forget about it with time, maybe you’ll fall into bed with someone else, or maybe you will change and subsequently allocate your desires differently. Whatever—you will always be able to look back at the feelings of a crush, even unrequited, and indulge in a private smile.