is when you knock on the door of the unmarked office building across the street from your very first apartment, because it has no sign and you’re bored and a little lonely since you don’t know anyone in town besides the crewcut who smells like feet in the next apartment, who won’t stop knocking even though you’ve arranged your body language in every possible position to say “fuck off,” but don’t worry you won’t be thinking about him when the heavy metal doors squeak open in front of you, as your consonants disappear—every one of them—which never happens, leaving you standing there dangling like an unmanned marionette staring at those, those, those sapphire eyes, those impossibly red lips, that voice OHMYGOD that voice, “May I help you?,” and it’s just like, exactly like, precisely like that moment in La Bohême when delicate Mimí, climbs the stairs with her dark candle, to find the poet, Rodolpho, who has the very thing she came for—a match—a spark in the dark threshold of her longing, and just like our ingenue, at the moment you feel the most swept up in a symphony of possibility, you are going to take a breath and exhale a melody, “Um, hi, yes, hi, I live um across the street, and I was wondering about what um kind of offices these are,” and when he answers, you will smile and nod and obsess about whether you have lipstick on your teeth, or bad breath, and what the hell do you you even do with your ridiculous hands? and you’ll respond, “Oh, that’s inteRESTing!” (even though you never put the accent there) followed by “Do you ever need volunteers?” (except you couldn’t care less about at-risk youth) but you will feel proud, so fucking proud, of your improv skills that you’ll make a mental note to thank your acting teacher, because it will be that clever little “yes, and” that causes him to invite you in, INVITE YOU IN, to sit in his office, IN HIS OFFICE, to “explore some options” and as his eyes penetrate you like a searchlight through the mist, you’re going to imagine what it might be like to put your mouth close, so close, so sooo close to his, just so you can savor that tingly precipice for as long as your body can stand it before you bury yourself in him so deep you forget your to do list, your deadlines, your grade point average, the fact that you need gas but can’t afford it because you quit your job as a singing telegram/balloon delivery person after only a month, and everything else besides trying to figure out a way to see him every day for the rest of your LIFE, and so as you’re filling out the paperwork sitting up straighter than you ever have before, you write your phone number and pray to god, jesus, the Pope, and the Dalai Fucking Lama, “Please, PLEASE, I promise I’ll be a better person if you make him call me,” and then just like that, just—like—that, it’s over and he’s walking you to the door, shaking your trembling hand, and thanking you for stopping by, so then you walk away slowly but not too slowly towards your apartment thinking, “I hope he’s not looking at my ass in these stupid fucking sweatpants,” as you fumble for your keys, drop them on the ground, hope the smelly crewcut doesn’t hear you, go straight to the mirror to check if your eyeliner is smeared (it’s not), and do these pants look that bad? (they do), and stand there at the sink eating maraschino cherries from the back of the fridge going over everything you said again and again and again, and again while planning the exact outfit (that skirt your mother hates—no, the button flies with the black boots—no, maybe the leggings and a sweater—no, FUCK FUCK FUCK why did I quit my stupid job?) and that, and that, and thaaat . . . is what it feels like to have a crush.