In 2000, I went to Italy for 12 days. While there, I got a crush on a boy many years younger. This is me explaining to two former readers of this blog. From August 25, 2004.
For Diva and Trillian, a tale of (almost) unrequited love.
just adorable. Amused gray eyes, shy smile, large, strong arms and
hands, tall enough to look up at, and smart, but oh, way too young. He
came on slowly, just getting under my skin. It could have been the
exotic location, or it could be that he’s just adorable. I found myself
looking for him everywhere, wanting to know exactly where he stood with
relation to me at all times. If I wasn’t looking directly at him, I
used my peripheral vision to search for the black hair, the beard or
the blue baseball cap.
In the cathedrals and in the ruins, I
found myself standing in the back, away from the guide at the front of
the crowd, just so I could talk to him and be close to him. He’s so
eager to learn, so aware of everything around him, so positive about
everything. I wonder if I was ever that young, ever that polite, or
ever that enthusiastic.
I started to admire him in Venice,
noticed his build, the maleness of his body and the way he moved. He
held a beer, a Beck’s, in one hand as he saw me look at him, and
managed to look sheepish and unapologetic at the same time. On the long
ride to Florence in the bus, I played games with his cousin in the
hopes that I could get his attention and talk to him. It took a while,
but it seemed to work. We played card games and Uno, and I taught him
how to play Gin. He proceeded to kick my ass in Gin almost every time
thereafter, but I taught him. Maybe some day I’ll get to ask him his
strategy, how he manages to win at least 3 out of 4 games.
Florence, he mentioned going out at night so we decided to go together.
We found the open-air bar recommended by the guidebook, and had a few
drinks while listening to, of all things, a Dixie-land jazz band called
Dixie Train. Had to go from Texas to Florence to hear that. He talked
about music and movies, and was charming and funny. The next night in a
Florentine bar called Be Bop, I was nervous that his leg was touching
mine under the table as we listened to the cover band. I entertained
fantasies about being alone with him, finding the courage to tell him
that I found him attractive, or just jumping him in a dark corner of
the hotel, but always turned away by the simple fact of age.
about him now makes me smile more than I have in a long time. Two
nights in Rome I went to his room instead of going to bed, ostensibly
to play cards and relieve my boredom, but in actuality just to be in
his company for a few hours more.
I do wish to be 21 at this
moment, more than anything I have wanted before. Does it count that I
feel 21, that my heart pounds when I see that he responded to an
e-mail, that at this minute I can’t imagine the rest of my life without
being able to see his face out of the corner of my eye? (Maybe I can
call him, and tell him that I just want to use him for sex. Any
21-year-old would go for that, right? I could call him and tell him
that I have a crush on him, and he won’t think that it’s creepy at all.
My family would approve, and so would his, especially since his mother
liked me. When he moves to Seattle to go to stuntman school, he can
just take me with him. That would work.)
I want the courage
and conviction to do something about what I am feeling, or for the
feeling to go away. I keep telling myself that there is no way that he
could like me or be attracted to me. I am too old, overweight, too
annoyingly sarcastic, and too passive to be someone that he could love.
Too many people were in the way in Italy, and also just me,
embarrassed for what I feel, afraid of what my friends would think of
me, terrified that he would not feel the same way about me. And yet,
telling myself all the horrible things, all the ways in which it
wouldn’t work, inventing flaws, I still feel these things for this boy.