Stiffly ignored him, when he was standing inside the door of the otherwise-empty-except-for-my-cousin-and-I auditorium. Obviously wanting to meet me. Also obviously, I could go outside in the dark alone to investigate when a human prowler is spotted, but when hit with a tsunami realization that THIS GUY could very possibly topple my self-protective, self-sufficient little life... I was capable of no other response than clipping past him in my grey heels. Pretending I didn't see him at all.
Yeah. That happened. The first time we met in person.
Thank God he had the courage to chase me down, otherwise I know I would have barred any further interaction.
Disclaimer: I'm not a huge fan of the dramatic approach to guy/girl interactions. For instance, a girl purposely acts opposite of how she feels to gauge a guy's interest by his response. It may suit some people, but it's not really the way I operate. And I wasn't intending to. When I saw him waiting, I fully intended to meet him calmly and normally. But, when the shoes met the carpet, I was terrified. Apparently I'm rude when I'm terrified.
My dear Bekah was standing on the other side of the door. Safety! Until he addressed my turned back with a "Becca", silencing my frantic non-talk with Bekah.
I turned, shook his hand, and couldn't think of a word to say.
So horribly frozen and strange, with this person I had connected with so well for the previous months! First by discovering and commenting on his blog because who would have guessed that another person would think and feel so many things I do? Then messaging about art, music, theology, books, and all the endless conversations I easily have with people I know well. Because I felt I did. Which was a bit strange, seeing as I didn't. But we have a lot of mutual friends and circulated in a few of the same Mennonite circles (or squares, as they've also been called). So, it didn't feel strange until I was faced with actually meeting him. And the niggling realization that I really could like this guy, which I'd conveniently discounted because I was still standing on my soapbox entitled "It's Impossible to Really Know Someone You Don't Know in Person", had mushroomed upon sight. Which, silly, doesn't actually happen to real people.
We made the smallest edition of small talk I've ever experienced. It didn't even occur to me to introduce Bekah, who was still standing in the very immediate vicinity. He left. I escaped to fresh air, maddened almost to tears with myself. And how is a person supposed to process happenings and emotions for which you simply don't have categories in which to put them? Categories are helpful for processing. And I just didn't have any.
After a week, sufficient equilibrium had returned for me to end the atypical silence with an apology for my awkwardness. And a thanks for taking the trouble to meet me.
Thank God I did, because (I discovered when we made fill-in-the-gap confessions after we started dating) he was prepared to let our friendship, which had felt so effortless and enjoyable, quietly fade. Because, obviously, it was more than a little strange to interact so easily with typed words... and then be so nearly incapable of conversation in person.
Thank God that was a year ago.
And we laugh at the memory.