Please note : This is an anonymous post
Everyone has at least one daft crush when they’re a teenager, don’t they? A pop star, or a friend of their big brother, or a guy a couple of years above them at high school. The difference is that when the maelstrom of hormones has died down, most people get over that daft unrequited love thing, and move on.
It’s over ten years since I’ve seen him – and in that time I’ve had several long-term relationships, got married, and had a child – but I still think about my teenage crush every day.
My teens were really shitty. I was dealing with abuse at home. I was smart but not terribly popular at school. I was a walking fashion disaster – my hair so short and my boobs so small that I was regularly mistaken for a boy. The only time I was really happy was when I had my nose stuck in a book, and my imagination was running wild about other lives I could be living.
So it was no surprise that my crush was a book lover too. He was my English teacher.
I’m still not quite able to express how strongly I felt about him, and how close I teetered to serious, slightly damaging obsession. I could barely string a sentence together in his company. I had his timetable memorised so that I could engineer bumping into him in the corridors of school. One time he left a message about a school trip on our home answering machine, so I took out the tape and would sit at night listening to those forty seconds of his voice, rambling on about permission slips and bus times. I spent hours fantasising about what it would be like to stay behind after school one day and lock myself in the book cupboard with him. The sex, of course, would be amazing.
But of course, nothing did happen. He was a middle-aged family man, working his way up the career ladder, and even if I’d been a schoolgirl stunner rather than a gangly geek, I think it’s unlikely that he would have jeopardised all that for a quick fumble.
But occasionally, once in a blue moon, he’d do something that made me wonder – just a tiny bit – if it had crossed his mind.
My Mum came home from parents evening one time and said “That was odd. Mr D says you’re wonderful. He asked if I had any more like you at home, and then went terribly pink and apologised for being inappropriate.”
About five years ago, I sent him an email. I think I realised that still thinking about him every day was a bit odd, and I wanted some kind of closure on the whole thing. Part of me wanted to apologise if I’d ever unintentionally let my feelings get the better of me and been too obvious – if the Christmas cards and Happy New Home cards I’d given him had crossed a line and made him feel awkward. But I didn’t. I just said that he had been an excellent teacher, and that I was very grateful for his influence on me in going on to study English at university.
He sent a lovely email back, thanking me for the good thoughts, wishing me well, noting my change in name… and saying that thanks to a couple of Google searches he’d done over the years he’d seen that I’d done very well since leaving school.
What the fuck?! He’d Googled me?! Do all teachers Google their ex-pupils?
I’d been looking for closure, and instead been left with a whole new set of questions. What had made him think of me? Why had he taken the time to look up and see what I was doing? Did that mean – maybe, just maybe – that he had felt a little of what I had felt too?
I don’t suppose I will ever know. And that is probably best. I still look for him online every couple of months to see how his school is doing, and if there are any new pictures up. From what I can see, he is ageing well. I no longer live in my old town, but whenever I achieve anything significant or even vaguely newsworthy, I still try and get it into my old local newspaper, for the sole purpose of reminding that old teacher of my existence. And my over active imagination still plays films in my head sometimes, where we bump into each other and go for a drink and finally get round to having that amazing sex.
I would not give up what I have now – a wonderful husband and child and a very happy life – for anything. But there will be a tiny part of me, that I keep very deep inside and don’t admit to anyone, that will always think of Mr D as the one that got away.