Fantasy is nearly always better than reality.

In high school, I had a crush on a boy in biology class. He was cute and didn’t know it. He was left handed.

I remember daydreaming about his beautiful, artistic fingers and dying to know what matters of profundity they were forever producing in his marble notebook. Sometimes, when I snuck a glance in his direction, he’d catch my gaze and smirk – and then go right back to ignoring the teacher and furiously moving his pencil across the page.

He was kind of a punk. Or however punky one could be at a DC private school. His clothes were scruffy and grimy and usually involved some number of chains crisscrossing from a belt loop to a wallet to who knows where. His hair was greasy, teeth unbrushed, and he generally gave off an air of unshowered-ness, yet I was entranced, enthralled with this boy and his perfect artist hands.

He wrote poetry, so I wrote poetry. He cared about music, so I pretended to care. He liked to draw, so I signed up for an introductory art class. I wanted to become someone he could maybe love.

He complimented me once. It was Halloween. I went to school dressed as a goth, and I remember the prickling sensation of his unrestrained scrutiny.  Class dismissed. I stood to leave but he caught my arm as I walked out the door. We locked eyes. “You look hot,” he muttered.

And that was it. The fantasy imploded and his appeal utterly vanished. The cerebral, sexy, brooding man I’d dreamed up in my head was nothing more than a high school boy with a penchant for too-tight plaid pants and underwhelming personal hygiene. He was no artiste! He was but a mere mortal.

Fantasies seem to have a way of undoing themselves.

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