Memoir Mixtapes Vol.1 / Track 12

Calculus Crush by Emili Lamph

Life is complicated when you’re 16, awkward, and, for all you know, in love with the boy from your fifth period.

I’ve always had a true love for music; my dad raised my sister and I on the best, but anyone that knows me knows that film is my first love. It’s not a coincidence, then, that many of my musical obsessions stem from film-nostalgia.

While there are plenty of times where I have hit the repeat button on a track, Des’ree’s “I’m Kissing You” had me hooked indefinitely my junior year of high school.

Though I had watched Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo & Juliet years prior, it wasn’t until a re-watch my junior year that the soundtrack hit me. First, I was obsessed with Prince’s “When Doves Cry,” but who wasn’t? Next, it was Radiohead’s “Talk Show Host.” But Des’ree’s “I’m Kissing You” crept into my school-girl heart just around the time the seating chart changed in fifth period. It had happened. The boy I admired from afar sat next to me now.

As a highly protected teen, dating was off limits up until this year of my life. I was sixteen, technically allowed to date, but petrified of the new liberty. As the year continued, illiterate in love, I sat through many a fifth period distracted while Des’ree’s lyrics surrounded me and images of Romeo and Juliet, wings and all, danced around me.

I felt like Juliet looking at her Romeo through that wonderful aquarium; he was in arms’ reach but impossible to touch. I should have mentioned: Romeo had a girlfriend.

Already with a Rosalind, my heart ached like the baritone notes from the song in my head as I considered the impossibility of my calculus crush.

Don’t worry, this story does not end like a Shakespearian play. Eventually, after months of endless and fruitless flirtation, my heart became wiser and told my head to move on… even if he was so really very super cute.

Even so, Des’ree’s melody followed me throughout the rest of that year—she was the soundtrack to the young adult novels I read as the girls got their hearts broken. (Literally, I pulled out my sister’s blue, fifties-styled boom-box, and played “I’m Kissing You” on repeat as I read an Ellen Hopkins novel on my living room floor.) Her harmonies kept me company as I grieved my own love lost. Forgive the dramatics, this was high school.

Jokes aside, it’s odd and amazing how a song can transport you to a time and place, there to remind you of things you had long forgotten.

Until now, I hadn’t given much thought about this once consuming obsession; guided by this prompt and a couple of clicks on YouTube, though, and I am right back there, a giggling school girl infatuated with a boy and a song instead of doing her unit circle. It’s like taking a book out from a full, intricately organized library, skimming through, and returning it. It was good to see you, little me, now go back on the shelf.

About the Author:

Emili Lamph is a soon-to-be English teacher living in Riverside, California with her fiancée and three adorable cats. She enjoys film, cooking, and red wine.

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