Undercover

It’s that fear that controls me

we play undercover games

He pretends that he is courage

and I’ll pretend I never knew

otherwise,

He’ll deal me a set of cards

and I’ll play along,

but suspect to be cheated

eventually,

He tries to charm me

with the way he deals

his fancy fingers

making the cards dance beautifully,

skillfully

in front of me

but,

I am not phased

And see the glint

of a red heart

up his sleeve

still,

I let it happen

while he wins my dignity

I draw strength in the fact

that,

at least it was courage

and not fear

that fooled me

A Simple Gesture

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He gave me his hand to hold. It was an act of chivalry that I’m unfamiliar with. That I’m not used to. It’s something every girl has probably gotten from a boy; a hand to put weight on, but it was new to me. It’s something I’ve never understood and never desired.

“I’m independent.” I would tell myself. “I need help from no one.”

I said it so often that I thought it was something I would never want, but now, after I’ve had it, I’m starting to think I only said that to numb the pain of its absence.

I didn’t need it. It’s not something I asked for, but he gave it to me to be nice, because I’m a girl and he’s a boy. And I took it, for politeness’ sake, because his hand was outstretched waiting for me. He balanced my steps, watched for a stumble, and waited with a look of concern so he could catch me if I fell.

I didn’t need him. I was perfectly capable. I had balanced myself before in just this way, and maybe he didn’t know that, but quite possibly he would have done it even if he had.

I’m a girl and he’s a boy and at that moment I was aware of it and completely conscious of the fact that he knew it too.

It confused me. It wasn’t normal. People usually take a look at me and deem me capable. Because I’m the one who carries my bags, who opens my door, who gives a girl an arm to lean on with the promise I will catch them. I’ve always been that girl. But I’ve never been a girl.

And it was pleasant. And it was inviting. And it was sweet. And I felt slightly embarrassed about it, but I still appreciated the gesture. Though I didn’t need it, and probably will never need it, I liked it. I liked the willingness and I liked that it was natural to him. Natural for him to help a girl. Natural for him to think of me as a girl. A regular girl. One that is worth helping.

I suppose it doesn’t happen often.