Crushes: Unappreciated Delicacy of Youth

By Leslie Graff

orange crush“Oh new love!” my friend Kelli pined, “It’s so exciting. I miss it! I have to enjoy it vicariously through you. Really, I love being married, but I miss the ‘falling in love’ part, it’s so fun.”

She begged for more details, downright giddy, as I recounted some episode from my “crush-of-the-month” on our way to work. Kelli had been married for a few years, her husband Grant was in medical school and she taught kindergarten at the same rural Virginia elementary school where I taught.

It seemed so improbable to me. Surely marriage with all its fringe benefits was better than some construction worker asking  for my number that week. How could she miss those Friday nights waiting for a phone to ring?  At the time I didn’t really get it, but now I do.

I took for granted the deliciousness of love in that season: the way a second look, that lingered a moment past casual, could stop me in my tracks and hang in my mind for days; or the way the subtlest touch of someone hand could steal my breath, leave me momentarily hazy, almost paralyzed; the way my head would pop and buzz, with the chemistry of it all, and those punch drunk days after a first kiss.  It was funny how someone’s undivided attention could leave me stumbling through my usually unflustered words, and that nervous way I would bite my lip to hold back an all too revealing-smile.

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