I think everyone remembers their first crush. Overcome with a surge of emotion, a brand new emotion, that’s so strong it deviously disguises itself as love, when really it was little more than infatuation. I know I’ll always remember mine, even though now it is little more than tiny memory dancing in the back of mind. I look back at it in equal parts awe and embarrassment. The way I acted, things I said. Unsure how to govern my tongue so wound up spitting out all the right things just at the wrong moments…and to the wrong person.
I was eleven when said crush appeared. I hadn’t fully come to terms with my sexuality at this point nor was I sexually active. I was still trying to navigate my way around down there, let alone think about someone else taking a field trip towards that part of my body. But I knew the moment I met this boy that something had been lit in me, something new, fresh; something that in later crushes and relationships I’d come to loathe and adore at the same time. Silly emotions.
Shortly before I met this first crush, I was still very much a child. I hadn’t quite worked out the kinks of sexual preference at this point; I didn’t know people had a preference. I was just working off what I had, and that was when a bunch of the boys in my class and in the year above went to play armies in the forest, half of them ended up with their junk out and messing around but all also had ‘serious’ girlfriends. I was a shelter dog, frozen with fear. It’s not that I didn’t want to join in, it was just sexuality wasn’t something I was consciously aware of at the time. Looking back I guess on some level I must have thought ‘what if I like this?’ and got scared that if I started I’d never stop (and now we are here.)
My first crush was straight and even though I had never harboured any sexual thoughts towards anybody prior to that moment, I knew upon meeting him that something different was stirring inside me. Crushes are so intense when you are younger. I always feel that, even now, when I meet someone the sensation and wave of emotions that wash over me are watered down in comparison – probably because I am now no longer ruled by my tyrannical teenage hormones. Alas our love never panned out; he preferred football and I preferred different kind of balls, so it was never going to be an epic love affair. I suspect the was the birth of what I fondly refer to as my ‘Taylor Swift-like qualities’.
I knew the difference between this first crush and my first love almost instantly. I knew the difference because I have this faded photo of us (first love) from when I was fifteen. A sickly look of love slapped across my face; gazing at his blue eyes, him looking back; lost boys looking for each other. I wish I had a hard drive full of these images because nothing warms my soul more than looking at this photo. I’m not one for being sentimental but an image does not lie. The photo has the quality of an image taken by ghost hunter; revealing feelings that both participants weren’t even aware were there; the haunted past of the lovers lost.
I always feel like when you break up with someone it’s like losing one glove. Not just any glove, a favourite glove. And since the pair are now destined to be solo for eternity, I can’t wear them. I’m not Michael Jackson, I can’t rock one glove. So part of you is kept warm but the other part cold. So here I am waiting on a new pair of gloves arriving but always looking back at my first crush; smiling, giddy and horribly mortified.