From my late teens, through my early twenties and maybe for a while afterwards, I had a secret crush. So secret, in fact, that I never told anyone, did anything, or even admitted it myself. I’m not even sure if I could call it a crush.

Mouth of Emma Whispers with her finger over her lips, indicating a secret.
Emma says, “shhhhhhh, it’s a secret!”

Why so vague? Because it was vague.

She was a little older than me – one, maybe two, years; it doesn’t really make a huge amount of difference in the long run, but when you’re 19 and she’s 21 it seems like it does. Time, of course, moves on in its own way, and like so many of my friends, she is now married with children. The few times we communicate, she is always kind to me, unaware as she is that I once dreamed of railing her on the sofa.

The problem I had at the time, of course, is that I didn’t know much about her at all. I knew that she was very pretty (that was the first thing I noticed), was doing a science degree (and later graduated with a 2:1, which was also my grade, even though I was doing an arts degree), and that she wasn’t a big fan of cats. She liked the Beatles and had once fancied Phillip Schofield.

At one point, she wrote something quite candid about sex, and I offered some advice. She took it. Years later, I noticed she had a book on her wishlist which I had. I sent it to her. The same with a CD. I stopped short of buying her the £3,000 dress she also had on her wishlist (but I thought about what I would say if I could have!)

But I didn’t know why I was attracted.

I mean, you never really know; that’s how love works. But there was certainly something there – something behind the pretty, friendly girl with a cute smile, long red hair and a science degree. I never quite worked out what it is, and then decided it didn’t matter as I ended up freewheeling through multiple more “official” crushes and weekly heartbreak.

Every now and again, I saw her, and each time I felt the pull; then again, out of sight, out of mind. Things came to a head when I had a strange dream in which I had three different girlfriends; she was, of course, one of them, and the one I was trying my hardest to invite over because she was the one I wanted to sleep with the most.

[I woke up that morning with the realisation that I didn’t even have one. Dreamy ILB just got too greedy.]

And that was it. I didn’t really have the crush after that. In my dream (and in real life…), her sexiness came from the fact that she was so sophisticated – she had a job in the city for which she wore a suit; she carried a handbag with a pen in it; she basically had her life together. Compared to that, I felt totally inadequate. And young. I felt young.

But here is my admission, for what it’s worth:

Hey there, friend. I had a crush on you for a while. I hope you are enjoying your life.

She’s never going to read this, but it makes me feel better.