Having a high school crush hurts like the dickens

There are certain lessons that can’t be taught. There’s no crash course in romantics that won’t end without some internal injury. I’m, by far, no Casanova, but I’ve picked up a thing or two here and there. One of the lessons that is constantly being beaten into me is that some courtships are unjust and criminal; not everyone is worth the effort.

brandon taylor portraitMy frame of reference is limited, so I’ll use the hallowed halls of high school to make my point. A fair warning, I was raised on soft-rock and sitcoms so I’m prone to quixotic fantasies and delusion (for example, it’s not my fault, but whenever I see a girl I’m in to, Winnie Cooper’s acoustic theme plays in my head). This is by no means an historic account; reality has been reflected by the funhouse of carnival mirrors in my mind.

In high school, the world is smaller and heads are bigger, so priorities are all out of alignment. It just so happened that my world revolved around the unrequited love of a raven-haired beauty–who, for the sake of dramatics–we’ll call Estella. Like most bewitching young ladies who collected the hearts of the homeroom Romeos, Estella was an impossible combination of brilliance, grace, and wit. I would have done anything for her, and I damn near did. Now, some of the things I did never made any sense, but I think high school romances are about as far from logic than anything else.

In one week, I completed the Sisyphean task of collecting all of the heads-up pennies in the world and stuffing them into a bottle for good luck. I then gave this bottle to Estella as gift. Unfortunately, it was I who needed the luck because that gift got me nowhere.

Then, in another attempt to gain her attention, I became the vaudevillian star of the drama club, which worked, but not in the let’s-fly-a-car-into-the-sky kind of way I was hoping. She actually came to the third night of the winter play on a date with a guy named Anthony. So when that failed my only real choice was to turn into a dinosaur because everyone loves dinosaurs (I have the pictures, if you don’t believe me).

While all of those tasks are inconceivable, none of them compare to the impossible challenge of acing AP Physics, a class I primarily took because I knew she would.

My great expectations of winning the affection of Estella led to an emotional collapse and culminated in the Great Depression, signifying the end of the Spaz Age. I would no longer make a fool of myself for the petty attention of a girl, or at least until an alabaster-skinned, ashen-haired vixen walked back into my life—but that’s different story for another time. I look back (it’s not that hard, it was practically yesterday), and I am both enchanted, and disgusted by the boy I once was (I can say “boy” because I’m so much older now and so much wiser). He was imbued with this charming relentless pursuit of a gilded green light, but let’s face it: he was a pansy. That’s not to say romances are a waste of time, just don’t wind up bent and broken in an unfamiliar shape because someone else deems you unworthy; it’s stupid and senseless.

It’s one of those lessons that I’ll probably have to learn again and again. It’s one of those lessons, everyone kind of learns on their own; to quote The Faces, “You’ll have to learn just like me, and that’s the hardest way.”