The one who got away

While spring cleaning this weekend, I uncovered my diaries from my university days about 15 years ago and – BAM! – I was transported back to a huge crush.

I was shy; he was shy… and we were never more than casual acquaintances. We never got it together, but there was amazing chemistry between us. He got under my skin and even now, I can remember how my stomach used to flip when I saw him. Every time. How I’d have to try not to show that just standing chatting to him had me shaking like a leaf. He had that much of an effect on me.

I wasn’t attracted to him initially, but I remember being hit by a thunderbolt of realisation half-way during a long conversation with him one night: I’d fallen head over heels for him. Never before (or since) have I felt so utterly connected with someone. He made me believe in soulmates. He was the nicest guy ever and we could talk for hours. Sadly, we didn’t cross paths all that often, but when I did run into him, I’d float around campus for the rest of the day. Sounds silly, but it was wonderful.

I left to go and live abroad for a while and in those pre-email and pre-mobile phone days, we didn’t keep in touch. Over the years I’d think of him from time to time, and later I’d Google him to see what he was up to, without much luck. One year when I was travelling, he came into my mind out of the blue, and I had a strangely strong feeling I was going to bump into him, in some random place, half-way around the world. I even thought I saw him, but it was probably my mind playing tricks on me.

Returning from my travels, I’d heard that he’d recently got married and by a twist of fate, our paths crossed – 11 years after we’d last seen each other.  He told me that he had had a huge crush on me too, back in the day. My 20-year-old self was delighted that she’d not  been imagining things – and yet I was also so sad that he’d never done anything about it. Then again, I’d been too scared to do anything too. Could have… would have… should have… .

But I can’t help wondering ‘what if’ – and whether he ever does too. Sometimes I wish we could just meet for coffee and chat about the old days. I’m burning to ask him why he never made a move on me. But that’d be inappropriate as his being married makes him seriously off-limits in my book – and should our old connection still be there… well, that would be awful.

One day perhaps I’ll be able to put him firmly in the past, where he belongs. And I hope that should I meet someone else who has the same powerful effect on me, that I’ll be brave enough to ‘carpe diem’ and let him know how I feel.

*sigh* Everyone has someone like this in their past, right?

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One thought on “The one who got away

  1. I often wonder if only people under a certain age are capable of feeling this way. I had a couple big crushes in college, one that absolutely “crushed” me. But I haven’t felt that way about anyone since- even “serious” boyfriends. But I also wonder if the fact that it is a crush that made it feel so strong- if your interaction with him was in a non-romantic context and/or you thought you couldn’t have him, it was more exciting. Maybe it’s the nature of “adult” relationships then- you meet someone online, you go on a date, it’s all already in a romantic context. I would kill to have that one awesome guy you see in class every day, but never go on a “date” with.

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