You pick number seventy-two-or-something, because it sounds like an accurately large number without over-exaggerating too much.
Though if you work out the math, five-plus years of crushes, one guy for five seconds passed in a hallway, another for a month across the school cafeteria…five-plus years, an average between millions of seconds and 12 months a year, maybe seventy-something gets you a little too low.
Unrequited crush, number seventy-something: notice his face for the first time, five seconds before boarding the plane. Wonder, does your heart go fuzzy because of his eyes, his jaw, the clothes so casually comfy they make him look like he belongs here, anywhere?
Sneak glances at him from the row behind, over the plane aisle and across at least two strangers, it’s hard to make out anything but the top of his hair; when he speaks one time to the person beside him, he sounds not quite how you imagined, but then, how exactly did you imagine?
Lose him before you can stand up and get your luggage.
Spy him from twenty feet away at the far end of a line of people.
Spot him two hours later, walking into the distance; is he glancing back to find you, standing out in the airport crowd? Is he glancing back for some entirely unrelated reason?
Does he have any clue you exist?
In the movies, you (the main character) would get up from your seat at that glance backward, dramatically run after him, the crowds of extras silently parting aside. You (the main character) would fall in step with him and charmingly say “hey, remember me?”
And in the movies, he would have more than a clue you existed, he’d have fallen for your eyes too. “Yeah, I remember you. Where are you flying to?”
But this ain’t the movies, you were never bold enough to ask for a stranger’s number, you were never bold enough to ignore the extras’ stares, or the two faces between you on the plane to call across the aisle and ask his name.
Unrequited crush, number seventy-something, aching in its longevity: what was it, five minutes total that you saw his face?
How long has it been, since then? A thousand times longer?
Goodbye, random guy I’ll likely never see again. I’ll try getting over you too, crush number seventy-two-or-something.
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