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Quarantining at home, can’t move on

Humor columnist Ellie Wilkie recounts a recent run in with her old crush

When unexpectedly running into a high school crush, one has two options.
When unexpectedly running into a high school crush, one has two options.

When unexpectedly running into a high school crush, one has two options — say hello, chat and flirt just a bit before moving on with your life and maintaining your dignity, or go bug-eyed, hide behind a lamp post and pretend to check your phone with a manic desperation that looks about as nonchalant as Cirque du Soleil. 

If you choose the former, good for you. College has clearly matured you in a way nothing short of beautiful. But if you choose the latter, then you and I would have something to talk about.  

If this completely hypothetical event were to ever take place, he might turn the corner, stop and repeat your name a few times before you pretend to finally hear him. He’ll then approach you with a confidence so enviable that you’ll want to strangle him but also make sweet love. 

You’ll exchange pleasantries, maybe even hug — during which you’ll be stiff and awkward and avoid eye contact when you pull away. You’ll ask him questions about his sisters and feign ignorance about the youngest one’s piano recital, even though you’ve known all about it ever since his mom posted pictures on her 11 follower Instagram account that you check every time she makes it public. 

Then you will do a little dance, wherein both parties will attempt to gauge how successful the other has been since graduating high school, without tipping their hand and exposing their own achievements or, moreover, lack thereof. 

He’ll ask if you want to get coffee, and you’ll say the obligatory, “Oh no, I wouldn’t want to throw a wrench in your plans,” and then he won’t insist, and you’ll spend the next four months overanalyzing that. 

You’ll shift in your shoes, running sprints in your brain, trying to think of something witty to say, but will instead harken back to an old memory of a class you once shared together, and you’ll realize halfway through that he does not share this same memory and that you might as well be talking to the wall. 

He’ll then make some offhand comment about “how good it is to see an old buddy,” eternally damning you to the friend zone, and before you know it, you’ll find yourself falling all over again. 

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