Dear Everyone On Whom I Have A Crush:
First of all, here’s who you’re not: the heartbreakers. You aren’t the dissemblers for whom black was white and up was down and anyway, what does black and white even mean. You aren’t the silent treatment dispensers or the faders-away, the lookers-over-my-shoulder-right-before-we-kiss. You aren’t the ones I have had to scrub mercilessly out of my life, the ones whose names I try not to mention if I can help it. I’m not writing to them. I never write to them.
What you are, my darling and delectable Crushes, is myriad. Some of you have been with me since I was old enough to spell Crush, and one of you I just hung out with for the first time last Friday. Some of you make amazing art. Some of you make amazing hot chocolate. Many of you are women and have become, over the long years I have been in the business of having crushes, excellent and beloved and long-lasting friends. Many of you are men, and sometimes, much against my expectations, you have become friends too. Mostly you have good hair. I’ve met most of you in person but a couple of you just exist on various screens in my house. Some of you have voices I’ve never heard. Some of you aren’t alive any more.
You attracted me, most of you, with your conversation, because that’s how I roll: I talk and talk and talk and I like nothing and no one better than the person who talks back, who settles in and pays attention, who gets it. You are uniformly hilarious, all of you, and you all have a tendency towards the wry. A lot of you love language for its own sake, and a lot of you like people for their own sakes, too, and like me you just like to sit around and chat, so that’s what we’ve often done, you and I—just talked and talked and talked. I love that about you so much—I’m sitting here on my pink bed sipping tea and laughing to myself with happiness thinking about the various times we’ve talked: in carpool on the way back from seventh grade. Sneaking around the island climbing around the skeletons of half-finished mansions. Walking back to the dorms from the storm tunnels. Writing or drawing or sewing or singing. Peering into the octopus tank at the aquarium. During breakfast and lunch and dinner and coffee at a numerous restaurants in numerous cities. Sitting in someone’s living room, shoes off, feet curled up on the couch. Over the internet, over the phone. I never enjoy myself more or feel more alive than when I am talking to you, did you know that?
You generally are very easy and low-maintenance, my dears, which I have to tell you I really appreciate. I perk up when you walk into a party, I choose my going-out top with you in mind, I think about your favorite flavor of cupcake—and that’s it. That’s all. I have not even kissed the vast majority of you. You make my life a little more fun and interesting and you give me something to giggle about and for the most part you don’t hurt me, and we all get along fine. I didn’t use to have the sense to appreciate that—I wanted every single interaction with every single person I came into contact to be Deep And Meaningful, and I couldn’t see the point in anything else. I know better now—I can understand the importance of the fleeting connection, the brief gasp of light in the general grayness of life. Some of you I saw or spoke with only once or twice and I have long since forgotten your names, but there you are anyway, bright blooms in the long twisted history of my heart.
Crushes, to be honest with you I have not ever really been able to do Big Love. I have found it, the few times I dipped my toes in, frightening and chaotic and generally unsupportable; I have somehow managed to be selfish and self-destructive in nearly perfect ratios. I’m pretty sure that’s not how it’s supposed to go, this Big Love you hear so much about, but I haven’t really figured out, at the time of this writing, how it is supposed to go, what I’m supposed to do.
And that, I guess, is where you all come in, because one of the assumptions you make in that sort of situation is that you are incapable of love, right? That it’s not within your specific suite of abilities, that it’s outside your factory specifications. Because you exist, though, I know that’s not right. I know I can love, because I’ve loved you a little bit at a time, for as long as you’ve been with me. Maybe one day we’ll all be together at the same time in the same place and I’ll be able to tell you how you’ve filled up my world and made it whole, made it navigable, made it shine.
Thanks, Crushes, for being adorable and funny. Thanks for your art. Thanks for the little shivers I get when I see your names in my inbox. Thanks for going out to lunch. Thanks for inviting me to your weddings and for sending me pictures of your babies. Thanks for flirting with me. Thanks for letting me into your families. Thanks for being beautiful.
And thanks for letting me love you, at least a little bit at a time. Maybe it all adds up, somehow.