I was 8 years old. I came home and told my older brother, my hero, my mentor, my beacon of freedom and wisdom that I was in love. I had fallen in love with a cute chubby kid in a sailors’ hat.
My brother was busy with many important things so I made my announcement louder. This was after all a very important thing. “ Ah-hem!” I was in love with a cute chubby kid in a sailors hat, my announcement rung the pictures on the living room wall.
My brother did not look up. “Is this child also in love with you?” he asked coldly.
“Well, no. I mean I don’t know.” Suddenly all I could look at was the toes of my shoe. Even before he had finished his thought I could feel the air escape my burst bubble.
“Well,” said my omnipotent older sibling, “falling in love is something that consenting individuals do together. If you are the only one who is supposedly in love then you are not in love at all. What you have…. and all you have,” my stomach was racing my voice for the floor, “is a crush.”
He said this in the same monotone that machines have when they say you have voicemails or that the walk signal is on in a big city. If he had looked up he might have seen my wet cheeks as I turned them toward my room.
That was my first lesson about crushes. I know knew what they were and why they had that name.
Authors note: cute…chubby…sailor hats….I have to laugh as I notice that 20 years later I still find these qualities very desirable in my crush material.