My attraction to him is a one way street. You'd think I'd mind, but I don't. He flirts. He hugs me hello. He even offered to kiss me once, but it was an inconvenient time and it seemed sort of like he was doing me a favor.
When we're out, he's constantly looking for the next pretty girl. He gives our conversation only perfunctory attention. Then his blue eyes crinkle charmingly at the corners as he laughs and I'm wet despite myself.
I find I enjoy this unrequited romance. It feels like seventh grade, when I sent my crush a card signed, Your Secret Admirer but made the mistake of adding a smiley face with hearts for eyes. Dark eyed Rakesh, a confident eighth grader, had seen me make that exact symbol many times during our afternoons as library volunteers. "Thank you for the card," he said, and rolled his eyes at my efforts at denial. I lived out the remainder of that spring in an agony of embarrassment.
I've learned since then: there's nothing wrong with letting people know you like them. It's exceedingly rare that anyone takes offense. In fact, most people will be flattered enough to like you back, at least to some degree.
I don't think Jed dislikes me. Quite the opposite. I imagine he considers me, when he considers me at all, a casual friend. I just don't hold his interest.
Meanwhile, I'm at liberty to enjoy looking at him.
It could be a blow to my ego. The women he wants are taller than me, more polished, more tattooed, more explicitly, pin-up ready sexy. I could think about all the things I lack that would make him want me. Why don't I use his disregard to run myself down?
Maybe I'm too busy enjoying the tingle of an itch that will never get scratched.