Dedication: for celeria; happy (late) birthday!
The world would be a wonderfully convenient place if everything had a definite beginning, middle and end.
But there was no definite beginning to it, no moment to point to and say, "Yes! That's it! That's the moment I fell in love with Hermione Granger!"
There wasn't a moment. There was no flash of insight when a little voice inside my head said, "Ginny, dear, do you think perhaps you're going out with boys you have almost no interest in because, well, you're trying to forget about someone else?"
An outsider, of course, would have found it easy to make the connection between dancing at the Yule Ball with Neville and staring over at Hermione and being in complete awe of her beauty (and feeling a pang that was then interpreted as jealousy, and writing off the ache when I saw her and Viktor together as resenting the fact that she was at the ball with a Quidditch star and I was at the ball with a perfectly nice but ordinary schoolboy, and realising that letting Michael flirt with me was a way to forget about all that) and being in love with her. It's harder when it's your life. You're caught up in the present, and the bigger picture eludes you.
An outsider would have found it easy to describe my admiration of Hermione as a crush, and would have examined the way I cherished spending time with her and decided that, yes, this was more than friendship, and this was more than hero-worship, and this was definitely an attraction of some kind.
And on further examination the attraction would have to be classified as love, because no other words were strong enough, and even 'love' didn't seem as though it could fully describe what it was.
There was no definite beginning to it. And if there's no definite beginning, how can one define the middle? The middle can only begin after the beginning has ended, and if you're not sure what the beginning is, then the middle is impossible to determine.
I'm not even sure what the 'it' is that I'm trying to define and box off into three neat compartments. For argument's sake, we'll define 'it' as my unrequited love for Hermione. Because that had a definite ending, if we're looking for definition, and it ended the day she kissed me.
And that was another beginning.