Hump Day Crush: My Long-Lasting Totally Hypothetical Crush

A long time ago, when I was just a wee lad, not even cognizant of what a crush was, the seeds of my longest lasting crush were planted.

There were a few people I could always be found with back then. As seems to always be the case in my life, a couple of them were girls. One of them moved away in fifth grade. Her name was (and probably still is) Mercedes.

On and off, ever since, I’ve found myself dipping into massive crush mode when I think about her.

Wait. That’s not entirely true. See, I haven’t seen or heard from her since fifth grade. And I most certainly do not find myself crushing on the 11 year old her that I last actually remember. (Partially because that’s just creepy and partially because I can’t think about the pre-teen her without slipping into the pre-teen me mindset–which leaves her, mostly, just a cool friend.)

No, what I crush on is the totally imaginary her that I’ve created in my mind. And, believe me, over the years I’ve come up with a few different versions.

Each and every one of those versions, is someone completely different. And yet, still completely her. There are core traits that carry through, no matter once. Her fiery temper. Her down to earth nature. Her innate creativity. All things I remember clearly from way back when.

What changes in my imaginary versions are how those things are expressed.

Maybe, I’d think, she grew up to be some sort of wild artist. Living a bohemian life thanks to having relatives to visit frequently in Europe (her mother was from Spain, her father was from Germany–the arguments in their house took place in three languages at once… it was frightening). I see her with wild hair and a devil-may-care grin, equally at home in high society or back-alley pubs. Living commission to commission and enjoying every minute of it.

Or perhaps, I’d imagine, she caught the science bug and dug into chemistry. Her brown eyes (that narrow so severely when she’s angry) sparkling behind a pair of glasses (so many of us in that class ended up with glasses). She’d be directing her passion toward some greater understanding of how things work, the creation of something that would make life better. She was never about destruction growing up, why should that change?

Then I think, what if that move (to Florida, of all places) didn’t do her all that well. And I image her as a disaffected gothy punk–all jet black hair and dark eye makeup. Her creative nature could have turned a bit dark with problems at school and arguments with her family. There would, of course, be tattoos. Vivid and macabre. Perhaps with a touch of nostalgia–an oddly colored striped cat in battle armor, some swords and skeletons. In this alternative version, she would, of course, be the singer in a band.

There’s more that could be–some more wild, some less–but I crush on them all when they cross my mind. And with each iteration, I learn more about myself. I learn more about what it is that I find attractive.

It’s not so much about the expression. It’s about the root, the underlying motivation for the expression.

That’s something that took me a long time to learn. It didn’t happen until long after I’d realized the amazing breadth of my crushes in general. I wrote it off for ages as me just being strange. But it wasn’t. It was me, unknowingly, being perceptive. It was me seeing through the mess of pretenses and finding that spark that resonated with what was inside of me.

And that’s what we can all find by looking at the relationships we get into and those we fantasize about. That insight into ourselves, culled from the commonalities in ourselves and the objects of our affections (be they real people or hypothetical constructs).

As I come down from the heights of yet another bout of crushing on the now near-mythical Mercedes, I wonder, somberly and honestly, what she’s really doing these days.

Sometimes, I like to think maybe she thinks similar things of me.

Then I’m right back to crushing all over again.

Me and Mercedes in grade school
This was taken many, many years ago during a play my class did for Christmas. I was a toy soldier, Ross (in the middle) was a mouse, Mercedes was in the audience.

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