the downward glance

I have this bad habit.

For years, it seemed like no one remembered me.
I would meet someone (sometimes multiple times) and if we didn't see each other for a while (or even if we saw each other the next day),

I would remember, but they wouldn't.
I could tell them where we met and what we talked about, but they would reintroduce themselves like it had never happened.

So I perfected this halfway downward glance. A defense mechanism, of sorts, to protect my ego against that harsh lack of words or even a look of recognition, for those times when I passed someone in the hall or on the street that I recognized,

but I just assumed they wouldn't recognize me.

Look up, Oh look who it is, quickly-look-down-again-before-he-thinks-I'm-staring, head down, fiddle with whatever happens to be in my purse, slowly raise my gaze, just enough to check if his pupils are scanning in my direction, and if/when they aren't, look away and walk on by.

But then there is always the backward glance, just out of curiosity, to see if maybe, he realized who I was a split second too late.

I've gotten better, really, I have. I've even gotten up the nerve to be the first one to say hello. Which, believe me, is very outside-comfort zone for me.

But today, it happened again. And it was silly, really. Because I knew he would remember...but the thing is...I wanted him to speak first. Because I had the last word last time.

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