But perhaps I was too intellectual, and in the realm of imagined or hoped for feelings, this is a mistake beyond all redemption. Actually, my second mistake (after accepting the bait dressed up as coffee)was to not recognize a rhetorical question when it came up. The correct response would have been to spill the coffee over my knees, suffer the pain, and beat a hasty retreat to the laundromat.
Instead, TD ignored me, sighed heavily (as I knew he would) and said that nobody understood him nor his crush (the noun, not the object of), and how was it that someone of his age could still have a crush, and shouldn't they be the provenance of the primary school yard where Joseph would punch Mary because he liked her, and Mary would simply cried because Joseph punched her. I suppose in this day and age, it could just as well be that Brian runs up to Joseph and puts a headlock on him because Brian wants Joseph to be his best friend without knowing what he means by best friend, or that Mary offers to share her red, red, red ribbon with Clare who takes the ribbon and then ties a pretty bow in Mary's hair.
Who's to say what happens in playgrounds today?
The thing is, I said to TD, crushes happen any time - even at your advanced age (he's a mere 27) - and they don't get any easier when you identify them as such. Naming a fear to understand it unfortunately doesn't apply in unspoken affairs of the heart. There is no understanding why crushes happen, and why they work with some and not others. I had little to offer TD except to say, cheer up, have another coffee - maybe the object of your crush will look at you one day and say the right thing, or he'll say that which makes you understand why what you feel about someone else is called a crush. In any case, by definition, it's not unrequited love.
The anguished TD, now also visibly irritated at my answering him instead of nodding soothingly and asking questions about the crush (the object of, not the noun), then asked what he was to do? Do? What is there to do, I replied briskly. You take cold showers, you put Joseph in a headlock, you say something to the crush and take the consequences - and here, as I knew he would, TD hurriedly said that he couldn't say anything. Why not, I asked, does the object of the crush (would that be the crushee or crusher? TD has a crush on someone so he's crushing so it stands to reason that the other person is the crushee, except that it's the other who does the crushing, so I guess that makes him both, a crusheer) not speak English? It appears he does, for TD made little poking gestures at my eyes as if to blind me and told me that I DID. NOT. UNDERSTAND.
But I understand perfectly. TD has a crush, but doesn't want to say anything for then he won't have a crush and will have to face what he'd rather not face - i.e. that the object of most crushes are purveyors of the most exquisitely painful forms of unrequited love. So there you go, have what you don't want, want what you can't have. (*)Grand Universal Paradox, GUP.
I didn't of course say this to him. I still have compassion, even in my crepuscular days, and instead asked him whether he'd prefer to have a piece of sticky tape on his arm torn away quickly with one quick burst of pain followed by relief, or removed slowly but constantly anticipating the pain of a hair pulled out. He looked at me, and said that he didn't have any tape on his arm. What do they teach these young oxen today? I gave up on metaphors, and told him to take vigorous exercise instead - it's good for a heart enlarged with unrecognised love, filled to overflowing with grief, or interspersed with ribbons of fatty cells.
And yes, the lemons weren't Meyer, but metaphorical, and THAT was the whole point.
(*)Grand Universal Paradox - Have what you don't want, can't have what you want. It pops up everywhere.
(*)Fay Weldon's "Leader of the Band