We all have first crushes, but I like to believe most of them are real and not digital renderings like mine was. Who knows, maybe I just didn’t do enough research on first crushes. My first crush was Rikku. The one that only exists in Spira, with the Al Bhed, stealing gold from and tossing grenades at bad guys. See, you’re getting the hots for her already too, aren’t you?
Growing up, I was the definition of an introvert. I didn’t go out of my way to assert myself in any situation, particularly those involving anyone I may have been attracted to. I was, after all, a very awkward, cowlicked, buck-toothed pre-pubescent teenager with strange feelings in strange places that I could only explain as some netherworld disease intent on wrecking my life.
Then I met Rikku and, among the slew of other things that Final Fantasy X introduced me to, I was hit with another—infatuation. Like, damn. Maybe it’s because she wore about as much clothing as Christ on the cross, but I like to think I was classier than that, even as a wee 13-year-old boy with no clue in the world what romance was.
I also credit Rikku as one of the slew of reasons I never committed to the final boss battle. I didn’t want her to go away. I knew that after that final boss battle, once I won, I’d never see her again. Or rather, she’d never do anything original ever again. I could replay all I wanted, but all I’d get are recordings of what was.
All throughout Final Fantasy X though, what made her different was that she wasn’t attached to anyone. She was part of this love triangle, but the thing that made this love triangle work is that Tidus never once made it a question of who he was into. He dibsed Yuna. And to add to that, Wakka was married to Lulu, Auron is dead, and Kamarhi is rhinotigerman. Which meant that, all things considered, I was all she had.
In the words of Jim Carrey…. So you’re saying there’s a chance.
I never had that shot in real life. It never worked that perfectly. I watched my best friend start to date a girl two years older than him and another good friend lock down his first girlfriend. There was no one left for me, no perfect fit. But hey, I pretended it didn’t bother me. I pretended like Rikku was real, and she was at home waiting for me. That is, until she shed all her dignity in the trainwreck that was Final Fantasy X-2. That’s when we broke up.
Josh Sippie: I’m the Director of Publishing Guidance at Gotham Writers. My work has appeared in McSweeney’s, I have an ongoing Fiction series (about Yoda!) at Hobart and a forthcoming humor column at Points in Case.