Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Facebook and the Ghosts of Crushes Past

Facebook has proven very helpful recently in helping me keep track of the ghosts of crushes past (figuratively speaking; they aren't actually dead). On the same day that my now married (not to me) one-time love of my life joined Facebook, an old crush friended me. Said crush (let's call him Jared, because that's his name) was a class below me in high school and I don't think we ever exchanged a single word... in person, that is. Back in '98, Mark Zuckerberg was a mere boy of 14 and AOL was the hottest method of communication. It was super easy to do a search for someone, discover their screen name and start a friendly conversation. The summer after I finished sixth grade I spotted Jared at a carnival in his blue and orange Adidas wind pants and I was smitten. I didn't know who he was, but I was in deep smit. When the school year started up again I discovered his locker was right outside my homeroom, and the daily sightings only served to increase my desire for him. At some point during my infatuation, I IMed Jared on AOL. I pretended I had no idea who he was, but was simply commenting on a quote I liked in his profile. I am not proud of this, but I was 14 and the hormones of 14 year-olds hardly make sense. We chatted from time to time and I worshipped him from afar, but nothing ever came of it.

My sophomore year of high school we finally had a class together, but never exchanged a word. Actually... I think he bumped into me in the hall once and said, "Oh, sorry," but I'm not going to count that as real interaction. And then, two days ago, Jared friended me on Facebook. All those years ago, I must have meant something to him after all! Just kidding. I am not so disillusioned anymore that I take his friend request for something other than, "Hey! I recognize that person's name!" But of course, I accepted.

There's another crush from the past that I have searched for on Facebook numerous times. Chad was the foster son of a woman with whom my parents were friends. He'd had a lot of sadness in his life and from the moment I met him, I subconsciously felt the need to "fix" him. I didn't realize this until years later while being psychoanalyzed by my mother. Chad was three years older than me, but we really connected. It didn't seem to matter that I was 15 and he was 18, which is kind of a big difference during teenage years. He didn't reciprocate my feelings, much to my chagrin, but that's something I'm grateful for now since it would have been illegal. But we got along well and always had a really good time together. When he went to college I wrote him letters and when we inevitably lost touch I was sad, but recognized it as just the way things go as people grow up and move on with their lives. And I realized that Chad, especially, might always be running from his past.

But with the advent of MySpace, Chad and I were able to reconnect. And from there we began speaking on AIM on an almost daily basis. Sometimes the conversations were very flirtatious, bordering on racy, but that was okay because by this point I was 21 and he was 24. He swore he never knew about my crush on him, but I think he was feigning ignorance to be nice. In high school, I once wrote his name in glitter pen and stuck the paper to the refrigerator... and he happened to stop by later that day. And got a drink from the refrigerator. But I digress. We hadn't seen each other for about five years and decided to meet up. We had a really nice dinner together and he paid, and though we never labeled it as such and there was nothing physical other than a hug, it very much felt like a date. I like to think it was a date.

Chad joined the marines shortly after that and it was the last time we saw each other. That was six years ago. I look for him on Facebook all the time and last night, I finally found him. He had accepted the request by this morning, along with a message that said, "Oh shiiiiiiit! Look who it is! How have you been?" Alas, he's married now. Also not to me (I'm noticing a trend here with my loves from the past). But he looks extremely happy and successful, and I can't ask for anything more! It's just nice to be back in touch, albeit through Facebookland.