My father worked for the federal government his entire career. When I was in 5th grade we moved to Washington DC for a two year assignment. I went to a small parochial school. Small enough that some of the grades had combined classrooms.
I talked and played with all of the kids in our combined classroom. The boys used to tease me a lot, yet they also seemed to like me. I couldn't figure it out. Just decided boys were weird and carried on my merry way.
In 6th grade, on a field trip to an amusement park, one of the boys came up to me and told me that one of the other boys "liked" me, and wanted to know if I would "go" (steady) with" him.
I liked him well enough, and knew him quite well too, given that we were in the same small classroom. I said yes. "JG" became my first official boyfriend that day.
We rode rides together. He bought me a stuffed animal. We held hands as we walked around the park. I barely spoke or looked at him at all. All of a sudden I just felt incredibly shy and flustered. As much as I wanted to, I simply could not bring myself to interact with him.
I rode home on the bus with my friends. I spent the rest of the year not looking him in the eye and barely able to get a word out. Even though we were "going with" each other the whole time.
I moved back to Oregon the following year and our young love was a distant memory.
Until tonight, when S walked into the room and grown-up me was happy to see him! She wanted to look at him and say "Hey!"
12 year-old me was having none of that. 12 year-old me was suddenly veeerrryy busy rearranging the pamphlets that grown-up me had already set up. Then talking to her friends. Then on her phone...
I thought 12 year-old me was long gone. Though I did mention to a girlfriend once that I feared that if S ever tried to talk to me, I'd panic, turn around, and run away. That was before he actually did talk to me. All went well. I thought I was safe from that social blunder. Apparently not.
It was easy when he wasn't paying attention to me. Total confidence. That was me. Now, I'm realizing that my inner 12 year-old still doesn't know how to handle those funny feelings in the pit of her stomach.
Something new to discover. Life is full of surprises. Maybe I'll start with eye contact. Wish me luck in grown-up land.