I was sitting in the back booth at George's three years ago, and a mild appreciation for someone in my class had suddenly become a crush, the kind that obliterates everything else around it, and it felt as if I would be obliterated too, in a blast of longing and lonliness. But I was also 30 years old, and I knew that I could bear it, because I always had before. I've had a lot of crushes in my life.
And so I tried to put together data on crushes, looking for the equation that would predict how much longer I would feel this way. It didn't work, because this kind of data is the kind that disappears as soon as it's over. One of the benefits of getting over a crush is that it feels as if it were never there in the first place. I also tried to quantify crush time as binary: time with crush ON versus time with crush OFF. Which, in retrospect, is a terrible way to interpret the data. A crush is a graph over time, with a sharp incline and, usually a slower, lingering trail back down. And even after it flatlines, there can still be occasional activity even years after. As evidenced by that same crush, not flatlining, right now.
This time around, he is a welcome distraction. Something light, predictable, manageable. He is not Cassidy. But I wish that I had been able to come up with a working equation, even though I know it isn't possible, because I have no relevant data. There is nothing like Cassidy in all my history.
It is getting better. It doesn't hurt like it used to. I go longer without missing him in my daily life. I don't automatically reach for my phone, for him, all day. I even managed to be emotionally untouched by a week of email silence. And so I think, look I'm better now! I start thinking about starting a new OK Cupid profile, a new name, new text, because I'm not the person I was when I first started and I want to reflect that change. What would a new name be? If I were starting from scratch, what would I say?
But he does write back, like I knew he would. I wasn't calm about the silence because my feelings for him have changed, I was calm because I trust him again, and I know that he will write back. And I am joyous when he does. Everything I learn about him, everything he does, it never ceases to make me like him more.