It appeared after the first half of the 2009 camp session (details here), that you and I would never be friends. You seemed as cold as ever, and I was as irritated at you for that, as ever.
But then at lunch on Thursday, someone spilled a cup of water on the floor near the food counter up front. I noticed the shiny puddle as I was leaving and moved to step around it. At the same time, I also saw you coming toward me, and was about to call out to you to steer away. But I was too late. Your foot landed square in the middle of that mess, and in less than a second, you went down; your feet slipping completely out from underneath you with lightning speed, and you fell, landing with a thud. As you descended, I watched in this frozen horror, that surprised me, and my right arm instinctively reached out to cushion your fall. But I was too far away, and couldn’t reach you before you hit the floor. It was like watching a scary movie, and I gasped audibly as this horrific scene unfolded. I don’t know why. But in that instant that you were completely off of the floor, I realized that I did not want to see anything happen to you. I’d have done anything I could to save you. Perhaps I had developed a crush on you in spite of how you’d treated me thus far. This could explain that sudden urgency to protect you that I experienced. Strange.
As you fell, for a brief moment our eyes met and I sensed that you saw the fear and sadness in my face, which I think surprised you just as it did me. I mean, each of us was certainly not the other’s favorite person. Until then, I actively disliked you. But as I watched you fall, this overwhelming need to guard you against harm welled up inside me, along with a stinging fear of the injuries you might suffer, should you land on the cement the wrong way. In that moment, all my accumulated bad feelings for you vanished. Our negative history suddenly became trivial. Then, with all of my heart, I wanted more than anything to keep you from falling, and I felt a momentary yet extreme despair when I found that I couldn’t.
After you hit, I watched you more intently than I’ve ever watched even the most engrossing films. Were you okay, and what could I do to help? Fortunately, you were fine, and got back up on your feet quickly. But while you squatted, as you stood back up, you looked up at me and said quietly, “I’m okay,” as if to reassure me. Your tone indicated humility and sincere appreciation over my concern. I’d never seen this much-softer side of you that I must say, mesmerized and captivated me.
Our eyes met again, and I did not want to break the contact. You smiled and seemed a little embarrassed; I thought I noticed you blushing. I got the idea that our historically stormy association had just been transformed into a calmer, more pleasant friendship in the future.
That moment was magical for me because in it, you changed in my eyes from this easily hated and ugly person, into a beautiful woman. Your softer side enthralled me, and it made it easy to forgive you for any hurt that you’d caused previously. It made me curious about you too, and eager to come to each meal to see you; an activity that I’d heretofore dreaded. Your smile, as you picked yourself up, made me fall.
You changed too, didn’t you? From that point on, gone was your harshness (or at least, it was highly subdued). In fact, [Emmy] noticed that your heart had softened a little. She said this to me at Bill’s party on the hill last night. How about that crazy thunderstorm that almost ruined the party? I’ve got the sniffles today. But you liked the LED Christmas lights I’d strung up, saying that they were “a nice touch.” I believe that this was the first time that you’d ever complemented me, and I liked it and wanted more. Thanks for “turning around” a little. Your softer side made the rest of the session much more enjoyable.
The story continues here.