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.