Scrolling through Instagram, this morning, I came across a photo an old friend had posted of her eldest son looking slightly irritated as he stood with a large clothing sack by his side. ‘My biggest boy is heading off to sixth grade camp. Make big memories my love!’, is what it read.
Looking at that photo I was instantly taken back to my first day of sixth grade camp. Riding in the back of the bus on a sunny Spring morning, sitting amidst my friends, one of the boys in our class sent one such friend to me with a message asking if I would like to go out with him. I didn’t like-like this boy but he was very good at basketball and football and it was a great day so far so I sent her back to him with my acceptance.
For the majority of the bus ride, we held hands as if it were an assignment we intended to ace–sitting next to each other, engaging in conversation with our surrounding friends but never each other.
As we neared our final destination, though, an icky feeling began to creep into the pit of my stomach. Why am I holding hands with this boy I don’t even like-like? Especially when I’m about to embark on five days–five days of adventure as an independent person. I didn’t want some boy holding me back, forcing me to think about how my actions affect him. And, what if I met a different boy who I actually like-liked? I needed to be single and free for this experience.
So, with about 20 minutes to go in our journey, I found a way to switch seats with someone and sent a different friend over to him with a message. ‘I just don’t think this is working between us–it’s not you, it’s me. I hope we can still be friends.’
He hated me for this and would, later in the year, make sure a football/basketball came flying at my head anytime I was nearby on the playground.
Side-note: The silliest part of this memory is that the little boy in the picture that sparked the whole replay of it in my head, is the son of the boy whose heart(ego?) I broke on the bus that day.