One of the first times I was accused (falsely) of having a crush on anyone I didn't was at the age of about 10. I had taken on the task (well, was given it, actually; I didn't have much of a choice) of speaking at church. It was coming up to Christmas, and we put on a kind of nativity-cum-carol-service thingy in which The Youth did some of the speaking bits. I was put in a balcony above the pulpit, and my job was to tell the story, and occasionally scatter oats from above while shouting "Christ is born!", thus announcing the birth of the Messiah and causing a headache for the cleaners at the same time.
Next to me in the balcony was a girl of the same age named BC (her initials, anyway - quite appropriate for the story we were telling, which happened in 4 BC). Having a voice just as loud as mine and being one of the oldest children, she also shared story-telling duties with me, although unlike me, she didn't get to scatter any oats. I didn't know BC very well - we were friends, but only within the church setting - and at this point my interest in her was only professional. It wasn't until one of the younger children said something like "there's talk going around about you and BC" that I realised two older people sitting in a balcony together, and talking in perfect harmony, may look somewhat romantic to the untrained eye. Also, we were 10, so maybe not.
I stopped going to church at about 11 (not because I wasn't interested - just because I was getting lazy), and inadvertently became one of the diminishing number of attendees that affect the religious in the 21st century, but every now and again, I made cameo appearances, partially to worship God, and partially for the tea and biscuits, but mostly so that old women could remark upon how tall I was getting and asking if I was 18 yet. At the age of 12, I found that both unnerving and scary; I wasn't even sure I'd make it to 18.
The next carol service I attended was a few years after my oat-scattering escapade at the age of about 14. By 14, I was incredibly sexually awakened. I'd been watching soft porn, had both biological and PSHE lessons at secondary school, and was starting to get crushes on girls, although - as I have documented here in extensive detail before - I was yet to even think about masturbation. For some reason, the service was partially held outside, in the freezing cold; jacket potatoes were available (for which I was incredibly grateful - I'll never pass up a jacket potato), there was mulled wine for the adults, and very little for children to do. I was 14, so I probably wanted to go home.
It was only when I went into the darkened building to use the toilet that it occurred on me that there were so many tiny corners in the church (and the adjacent hall, which would be later used for pantomime, holiday clubs and my 21st birthday party) which would be the ideal place to have sex. Probably (if not most definitely) not the most appropriate place to do so - although it's not a Catholic church, so it's not like one has the Virgin watching - but this was just a fantasy, right? So it's not wrong, right, to walk around the corridors and mentally note all the places were it would happen should the opportunity arise within the next thirty minutes? How long did sex last, anyway? Could it take less than thirty minutes?
Halfway through this task (and part of the way up the spiral stairs that led to yet another balcony where I would later sit and project the hymns' words using a PC), a different problem presented itself to me: someone to fantasise about having sex with. I had a crush on someone at school, but I was determined not to think about sex with her (and I didn't, not even once). What I needed, as it turned out, was someone to have dirty thoughts about - someone my age, preferably who I knew but not very well, who may well turn up to something like this, click with me and decided that what she really needed was to cement our new-found and incomparably passionate relationship with a quick shag in a darkened corner of a nearby large building.
I asked one of the Elders if BC was around. It was the first person I could think of, and coincidentally the only one. The Elder told me that she didn't recognise the name, but that the surname rang a bell, and that that family hadn't attended the church since Revd David had left a few years prior (I was there; I shook his hand and burst into tears). She also couldn't remember the face, but I could.
In the car on the way home a vague picture formed in my head which consisted mostly of BC getting railed by me in an unspecified dark corner. I may have given her bigger breasts than I remember, but then, if she had aged as much as I had, they probably would have been bigger. I also may have reimagined her face slightly, although I got the vague details down - they may have been confused, perhaps, with that of another girl I knew who had the same first name as BC and similar facial structure. I couldn't really remember her voice, but I invented one.
Ten minutes later, while making myself a hot chocolate at home, I realised that what I'd actually done was create an entirely fictional person based on a real person's name and a wild assumption about her continuing existence past the age of ten. I'd never heard of her since and I have still never heard either of or from her, nor have I sought her out because I have no particular need to do so, and apart from throwing oats at a crowd (actually, now I think about it, they were probably Sugar Puffs) from a box, my only enduring memory of her is fictionalising the top half of her body in order to imagine I was having sex with it (or something).
I feel like this is something I should apologise for. But, while I acknowledge my transgressions and my sin is ever before me, I think I'll probably just go and get a jacket potato instead.