I knew how different I was. I was made aware of it every day that my dad asked me if I had a girlfriend yet. I’d made up a million responses to that question, but I was getting tired of it. More than that, I was getting tired of knowing that I would never have a response to it. To avoid the question I took to running during dinnertime, or booking a lawn job just so I didn’t have to sit at the table and be faced with devising another answer to the unanswerable query. The world just was not constructed for a person like me to fit in. I wasn’t bad-‐‑ looking. I had a nice face. Pleasant features. No acne. Blue eyes. Decent body. Surely someone out there had to be looking at me the way I looked at others. Somebody out there had to want me the way I desired others. Were they out there looking at me but going through what I was? Not being able to do anything about it? It was frustrating.
I heard my classmates talking about sex all the time and I felt left out. The only guy untouched by human hands. I sat on the sidelines as the football team practiced. Their field was in the middle of the track I ran. From the bleachers I’d watch this parade of masculinity, half in shirts, half skins as they ran and grappled each other to the ground in what looked like a sex dance to me. They’d get up, pat each other’s ass, and go back at it once again. All of it so seemingly normal to them. But to me, it was a personification of sexuality. My eyes viewed the world with a different perspective.
On one particular day there was a guy sitting on the bench I’d not seen before. A new face. He was just another one of those joes like me. Ordinary enough to pass by on the street without a glance. Short blond hair, a lithe but not consequential torso, but with the most extraordinary muscular legs. They looked disproportionate to his body. Thighs that looked impossible to squeeze into his training shorts.
I would watch part of the practice, but inevitably my gaze would drift back to him. He seemed uncomfortable; like he didn’t want to be there. Distracted enough to look almost everywhere but the field. He either wanted to be in the game very badly, or to not be there at all. I could only guess by his body language.
There was a scuffle among two of the players that brought the coach in to intercede. Macho yelling from all sides for a few moments before the shrill bleat of whistle pierced the noise and brought it all to quiet. The hoarse voice of the coach began the reprimand as I returned my attention to the guy on the bench. He stared at me. Straight at me. There was no one else around. I was the only person seated on the bleachers. His hand raised from his lap in a small wave. I made a small, indecisive wave back and then sat there in the strangeness of the moment. I had no clue what just happened or why.
Memorizing You By Dan Skinner: https://www.amazon.com/Memorizing-You-Dan-Skinner-ebook/dp/B00DUXS4Z2/