I never did learn to socialize. The ways of men and women together have always been a foreign language to me. So much that even after all these years I watch the lives around me like subtitled film, never sure I really understand what is going on.

I had almost no practice at simple day to day communication with a man outside the group. Crushes. In high school once I fell for a boy who was kind enough to pick up a dropped pencil, and I can still relive that fractional moment. A tooth-dented yellow stick had linked me with another being and his smile.

In college one boy did ask me out, Richard. And because he asked, I went. We went to football games together and one disaster of a hayride. I ate some cafeteria suppers with him, wishing all the time to be back with my room-mate and her Arnie and his room-mate whom I had adored from near day one. Ray and Arnie punned and laughed; Richard and I went to church and discussed religion. One night he asked me to go steady who had never had a date with anyone else. I shrieked “No!” and ran out of the dorm parlor for the safety of my room. Relieved. There were no more college dates. Only Syl and Arnie, and Ray who never wanted me, and gay Harold whom I loved, not understanding.

Small wonder it took so long to learn which of my crushes were love and which were lust. More often than not it was sex at first sight and I wound up heels over head in love with the wrong men.

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