I've always been perfectly happy on my own. I've never needed friends; if you were to cut me off from society, I would last longer than most, for the simple reason that I am not a people person. I have trouble getting close to people, and, if you betray me, more often than not, you will never hold any kind of positive standing where I'm concerned.
I find myself looking at the couples at our school with derision. Who are they to claim that they "love" someone? Why do they think it's okay to show each other off in that way in the hall? Aren't they too young to date? I mean, really, really date, emotional connection and all.
It's been a while since I realized that, more than anything, I wasn't ready. The idea of being that close to another person, allowing them to be a part of your life, just didn't work for me.
And then, last week, I surprised myself.
I was sitting on the bus, and I thought "Am I the kind of person that a boy's parents would like? Could he take me to meet them, or would I be embarrassing?"
I have never, ever, had a thought like that before.
Of course, there's a boy involved. My friends and I refer to him as "Red."
Red was new this year, and, for the better part of the school year, I could not stand him. He talked all the time during class and about the most inane subjects. Every day, I practically felt my IQ drop a few points.
And then, I fell.
No, literally, I fell.
I still don't know why it happened. One second I was at the top of the staircase, and, the next, I was at the bottom, my face covered covered with warm stick liquid and feeling like I'd lost a fight with an angry cheese grater. I would learn later, in the ER, that I had passed out and fallen down a full size flight of stairs.
Class had been about to start; I had had to get something from my locker, otherwise, I wouldn't have been so late. The staircases were deserted, as were most of the halls. Red had been running late as well. He had just opened the door in time to see me hit my head on the guard rail and fall to the bottom of the stairs. He ran to the nearest classroom, informed an extremely confused teacher, and ran back to me. He helped me sit up until the teacher came, and then walked me to the office.
Okay, he half carried me. I was pretty much unable to put weight on my right leg.
Anyways . . . Maybe it was just the damsel in distress reaction, but, the day after, when I came to school all bandaged and with my arm in a sling, I saw Red and I got butterflies. Yep, the infamous butterflies.
I've had crushes before. They're always crash and burn for me, and I've never acted on them before. Usually they taper out within a week.
Five months later, and I still get that fluttery feeling. It's more than that. He makes me happy. The chatter that once seemed pointless now makes me giggle at night when I recall a particularly funny joke.
And it was him I was thinking of when I wondered if his parents would approve of me. His dad is high up in the Navy; part of me wonders if my portfolio would be enough to impress him.
It ate me up for a while . . . Not knowing is still killing me.
And then I realized that those thoughts meant that I actually wanted to ask Red out. Really, really wanted to ask him out.
I think I'm ready to finally let someone inside, past the walls I've built against the world, the ones that keep out everyone but the most skilled diggers.
I'm ready to be part of a relationship.
I really think I am.
This is Alice, off to give Red a call.