Becky Portman: Crushed
You have a problem. You fall in love with 15 people every day: The girl in white Doc Martens at CVS, the guy who juuls in your Psych lecture, your sexy GSI, the Amazon delivery truck driver, your neighbor who brushes his teeth outside, your lab partner whose hydroflask matchers her eyes, the guy in your film class who likes his T-shirt two sizes too small, the barista at Espresso Royale on State, the barista at Espresso Royale on South University, the guy at Hatcher who looks like he could be a barista. It’s not a real kind of love, a “marry me” or a “have my kids” kind of love. It’s a “picture us together” kind of love. It’s a creative exercise in imaginary love and fictitious heartbreak. It’s a thought experiment into your romantic subconscious. It’s a tragedy of Shakespearean proportions masked as a comedy. It’s like Hozier said, everyday you fall in love just a little bit with someone new.
February just makes your problem worse. The cheap chocolate hearts and pink teddy bears are reminders that love is in the air. You’re a romantic, you can’t help it if Valentine’s Day has an effect on you. It feels like Cupid shoved all his arrows up your ass and you can’t stop falling in love with everyone you see. You fall in and out of love so quickly and intensely that its duration is more akin to an upset stomach after a bad burrito than genuine infatuation. Your crushes are fleeting, but they are intense. Each crush is unique. They each have their own backstory, their own childhood trauma, their own weird relationship with their mother, their own favorite movie, their own least favorite potato chip brand, their own toothbrush softness preference.
Your imaginary love stories occur in a series of scenes, like a cinematic montage in your mind. It starts with the look. The look that makes everything around you freeze and go into slow motion. You see your crush and they are perfect. They have no spinach in their teeth, their shirt is not wrinkled, their smile says they’re happy but their eyes say they want more out of life. You like to picture yourself making the first move. You would go up to the girl in the white Doc Martens at CVS or the guy who juuls in your psych lecture. You would compliment her shoes or his pineapple pod. You would ask her name or his major. You would make her laugh or catch him staring. You would ask if she likes tacos or if he likes movies. You would make an excuse to see her again or bump into him playfully. You would follow her on Instagram or message him on Facebook. You would reply to her story of tacos and suggest you get some together some time. You would invite him to your improv show. You would hold her hand or play with his hair. You would, but you were too late. You watched her and her white Doc Martens leave CVS with a case of grapefruit La Croix. You would, but you missed your chance. You saw him walk away, effortlessly slinging his Jansport over his right shoulder, a plume of nicotine escaping his lips with every breath. You would, but there’s always next time. She dropped her gum wrapper or he left his pencil. You would, but you know you never will.
That’s why you fall in love so often, so abruptly, so ephemerally. You have a new crush everyday because it hurts less than falling for one person all at once. You have a slew of potential suitors lined up in your head because if it’s not real it can’t break you.