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  • They happen in the privacy of our minds, pretty much everywhere.

  • At the pool, the conference, the aisles of a supermarket.

  • The dynamic is always the same: Very little knowledge, indeed complete ignorance, combined with a deep sense of knowing them absolutely.

  • And of being entirely certain, they would, if only circumstances allowed, be the one.

  • It's been going on since early adolescence, at least, this madness.

  • And even now, when one should know better, it happens.

  • These crushes, they show off our capacity for knowing how to make the most of the smallest details.

  • A wrist, a neck, an ankle, a pair of jeans worn a certain way.

  • They instantly become whole people with whom we can imagine years of a life together, full of profound mutual sympathy, tenderness, and laughter.

  • This blessed person will, we know, understand us and all the secret, complex, ignored parts of us.

  • This capacity we have for elaborating a whole personality from a few small details, it's there when we look at sketches.

  • This isn't someone who has no nostrils, eight strands of hair, and no eye lashes.

  • It's a beautiful creature we feel we understand at once.

  • The cynics say it's madness, this filling in of the gaps.

  • We're just projecting wild, reckless fantasies, but that's too sweeping.

  • We're probably right to be delighted; it's just not the whole story.

  • Perhaps that remarkably thin wrist with the leather band around it really does belong to someone who is skeptical, alternative, delicate, intelligent, wry.

  • The error of the crush is to go beyond that insight, to think this could ever be the whole truth about a human being.

  • Knocked off course by the crush's power, we forget one central, inviolable fact of human nature.

  • That everyone is crazy and trouble to be around.

  • Everyone has something substantially wrong with them.

  • Everyone is extremely hard to live with.

  • You can't know what from an ankle or a wrist, but it'll be something.

  • Time will reveal it sure enough, because life has messed all of us up.

  • Because we all grew up inadequately parented, and have all ended up terrified and anxious pretty much the whole time.

  • That said, we shouldn't give up on having crushes at any age.

  • We just shouldn't believe in what they appear to promise anymore.

  • Of course we haven't glimpsed complete perfection; it's just a pretty nice side or two coming to the fore.

They happen in the privacy of our minds, pretty much everywhere.

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