We were children, but we thought that we were so much more. My 11, maybe 12 year old eyes looked at you and saw nothing but pure, sweet rebellion. You sat directly across from me in class, and yet I had no idea what your eyes were seeing, or what thoughts were stewing behind your green eyes. I wasn’t the sort to notice the colour of people’s eyes, because I was too shy to really look at them, but I saw yours, and even though they made me nervous, I wasn’t afraid.
I was always nervous around you because I was so sure that you’d be able to hear the pounding off my heart, think I had some medical condition, and then never speak to me again. On this particular day, all my nervous energy flowed down to my feet. It was group work time, and even though there were other people in our group, I couldn’t tell you who they were. I only remember tapping my foot, my toes hitting something every time they’d go up and down. I’d assumed that I was hitting the desk; middle school desks are notorious for being just as wobbly and off centre as the students who use them.
You were looking at me in a way you never had before, like maybe you were seeing something in me that you hadn’t noticed until just then. Your smile turned from a toothy grin to a coy smirk, and I just kept tapping.
Until, suddenly I stopped.
“Is that your foot?” I asked.
You just nodded and you laughed, not out of malice, but because my eyes had nearly popped out of my head, and my scarlet cheeks put Rudolf’s nose to shame.
I hadn’t known it then, because I was somewhat of a stupid child, but you hadn’t minded our cheeky little game of footsies. If you had, you’d’ve asked me to stop. It took years for you to tell me that, but by then we’d both learned how to steady our own limbs.
“Sorry,” I said once my feet were safely under my own desk, because surely if I’d been that embarrassed, it must have been just bad for you.
But you just shook your head again.
And that was that.
Just one more cringey story to tell around a camp fire.