I still blame Jamie and Jason. If it hadn’t been for them, none of it would’ve ever happened. They were the ones who’d given me the idea. Of course, they hadn’t known just what they were starting. Realistically it had been an innocent conversation.
I have a full time job doing data entry for a private company. My days consist of typing in hand written information into a computer. It sounds mind numbingly dull to most people but I don’t mind it. I find ways to make the days interesting. Like talking with the people sitting either side of me.
In this particular case I had Jason sitting on one side and Jamie on the other. We got along fine, though Jamie managed to lose her temper occasionally. In her defence I was generally being a smart arse to her at the time.
Jason, I’d gotten to know because we worked on the same help desk for a while. A job which, while most definitely NOT being mind numbingly dull, was most certainly a job I’d not like to repeat, but we’d became friends because of it.
This of course lead to both of us working as a team to be a smart arse to Jamie. Which in turn lead to Jamie’s, often fairly justified, losing her temper.
But we were all friends – there was no denying that. When I was being a smart arse I kept the day flowing by making conversation, hypothetical situations, and talking about life experiences. This lead Jamie and I to find out that we’d gone to the high school at around the same time. She’d been in Year Seven when I’d been in Year Ten. And it was this revelation that caused the spark that ignited the fire that was this entire situation.
It started with a name.
“Mark Raets,” Jamie had said. “He was in your year wasn’t he?”
Of course he had, I’d actually found myself in his circle of friends in my graduating year. The very year that Jamie had also been at the school. So I knew we were both remembering the same version of Mark Raets when she dropped the following little bombshell on me.
“He was so hot, I had such the biggest crush on him.”
I was floored. The Mark Raets I remembered was a goofy joker, mildly popular guy who liked high school purely for hanging out with friends, picking up girls, and playing in his band. He was a nice guy, don’t get me wrong here, but I certainly never would’ve described him as the teenage Justin Timberlake Jamie was making him out to be.
Jamie explained to me that it was the musician thing. Apparently chicks dig guys in bands.
So it’s because I’m tone deaf that I never had a date in high school. I thought Though for fear of giving Jamie excellent material to use against me later, I kept this to myself.
Instead I went about trying to decode how a guy who in my eyes was always kind of goofy, appeared in Jamie’s eyes as a teenage Justin Timberlake.
Even after ten minutes of her explaining I still didn’t see it. Jason backed her up saying that girls dig musicians, despite having never met Mark himself.
And then I had the idea that was about to shape the next few months of my life.
“I could set you up on a date,” I said.
Jamie scoffed at the idea. By that stage however, it was already too late.
“I could write a book about it,” I thought aloud, ideas in my head spinning.
“You’re NOT going to set us up!” Jamie firmly told me. But the idea had gone past that now, in the space of a few minutes, it had changed and evolved. It was like a flood gate had been opened in my head and all these ideas were suddenly spewing out. I was so full of excitement I could barely sit still.
“That’s it. I’ll write a book about it. It’s genius!” I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of it before.
I then realised I’d become lost in my thoughts, and that neither Jamie nor Jason knew what I was talking about.
“I’m going to find people’s high school crushes, and I’m going to set them up on a date.”
The following day, I was talking with Jamie and Jason about my brilliant idea. One of them made a good point that writing an entire book about tracking down other people’s crushes was going to take time and money.
Time, I had plenty of.
Money was another issue entirely.
Then there was the trouble of finding people who actually wanted to participate in this. Then finding the crushes themselves.
I was certain I could do all of these things. And I had intended to at the time, but they had a few fairly good points. I didn’t have a lot of money. I actually had a credit card debt I often tried not to think about nor acknowledge its existence.
There were other questions of course, like would each chapter be divided up into finding the crushes? Would each couple get their own back story? Would I feature prominently in the book?
“Of course I will,” I told them “I’m the guy finding them. I’ll write the book about tracking people down people’s crushes, and that includes the journey it takes to find the crushes.”
So I proceeded to spend the next few days trying to recruit people for the book. Unfortunately it seemed friends and co-workers were rather reluctant to take part in it. They thought the book was a great idea, but none of them were willing to participate.
Jamie flat out refused to let me set her up with Mark Raets, and Jason was one of the lucky bastards who actually got to date his high school crush when he was still in high school.
Then, when I was trying to come up with people to use, Jason raised a fairly good point.
“Why don’t you try and track down your high school crush?”
It was a good question. My answer was based entirely on a rumour that was almost certainly inaccurate that I’d heard years before.
“Well I would, but she’s gay now.”
Jason and Jamie both laughed, and then admitted I had a good point.
So of course my thoughts drifted to my high school crush. Picturing in my head what it would be like to meet her in the present day in my head. Wondering how much she would’ve changed. Wondering what her view of me was like then, and wondering how differently I remembered her to how she actually was.
I mean, Jamie proved that we both had entirely different versions of Mark in our heads. It would only stand to reason that my crush appeared slightly different to me than to everyone else.
That was when the idea for this book evolved.
“I’ll track down my previous crushes. All of them, and I’ll interview them for the book.”
Once again, they both seemed to think it was a good idea.
“So where would you start?” asked Jamie.
“The only logical place to start,” I responded. “With the first girl I ever had a crush on……”
Cross posted to emptyfortunecookie.com
The book can be purchased from this link. Chapters will continue to be posted Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
All events in this story are true, with the consent of being told from my perspective on the situation. (It being a memoir and all.) Names and minor identifying details were changed to protect some people’s identities.