Memories of an Invisible Crush

Carvell Wallace
5 min readNov 1, 2022

The other day I was walking from my car to a place that sells vegan burgers that are delicious and also somehow disgusting. I can’t explain it. All I know is that whenever I come home from a work trip to another city, all I can think about is ordering food from there, the fake cheese dripping off each sandwich, the overly sweet grilled onion sauce staining my fingers…

I had already ordered so there was no turning back. I parked my car and walked down the block that was at once familiar and forgotten. It had been two weeks since I was home, and then it was only for a week. Before that I had been in Europe for three weeks. I had not walked down this particular block for about a month and a half.

Everything was the same but different. But the same. I felt hyper-conscious of the moment. Alienated. I was new to this place. Yet I had always been here. I have just emerged from things tens of thousands of miles away. There is a kind of satisfaction I get from being new to a place, having a backstory that means that I come from somewhere else. Some call it terminal uniqueness and in that sense it’s not nearly as unique a character trait as some part of my would like to think it is. It’s already been made into a meme.

I was walking down the block en route from car to vegan burger when I had a memory of a person from high school, some thirty years earlier. She had been a music major, vocal music I think, or maybe piano. I’m not entirely sure. I remembered that I liked her a great deal. We ran in different circles but we overlapped one semester because we found ourselves at the only two students enrolled in AP Biology. Our tiny arts high school, less than ten years old at the time, didn’t have a dedicated AP Bio class so our regular bio teacher gave the two of us a textbook and told us to go do independent study in the library.

Every day at 11:10 we met at the entrance to the library (our school was leasing a building on a college campus) and did our very best to teach ourselves AP Bio from a textbook. She was a serious student, much more serious than I was, it felt like. She was what I thought of as a “good kid.” She went to Bible Study, didn’t curse a lot. Didn’t drink or do drugs as far as I knew. I was a good kid too, but I didn’t think I was. I thought I was messy and disorganized and perverted and…

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Carvell Wallace

This is where I experiment. This is where I learn to write.