when his mother told him a month ago that they were moving to south carolina he was pissed off. beyond pissed off.
“next year is senior year! are you kidding me?!”
his mother’s tears killed his protest in an instant.
he had never seen his mother cry before.
it was obvious she had already considered the pain this would cause him. this was not something she was choosing. was it a rule of divorce? her job? why do people move to south carolina anyway?
whatever the reason, it was being forced on her. and now, by the transitive property, it was being forced on him. just one week from tomorrow.
i’ll need to finish my junior year in the south. it’s just not fair.
it was well past midnight, but sleep was slow in arriving.
he turned on his reading light and stared at the all stars that circled his room. kobe bryant. lebron james. tom brady.
a-rod was his favorite and occupied the place of honor, above the bookshelf beside his bed.
he never cared for sports. still he followed the big stories. he memorized the important statistics. he watched the games that made it to national television so he’d be literate on monday mornings.
he called it fitting in. in high school it is important to fit in.
as he pulled the hand lotion from his bedside table, he knew what it really was. it was hiding. plain and simple.
shame and self-loathing slowly morphs into fantasy, as it often does.
and a-rod’s arms enfold him, the soft voice a contrast to the cast-iron forearms, “is this your first time?”
as he unzips his baseball uniform, he whispers, “i’ll be gentle.”
it takes two tube socks to clean up the mess. he told his mother that he was very fastidious about foot odor, to explain the number of socks in the hamper each tuesday.
he was pretty sure she wasn’t buying it, but if she knew, she left him his dignity.
he lay there considering absorbancy. tube socks vs dress socks – dress socks soaked up more per square inch but tube socks won out due to the extra surface area.
he lay on the bed and marveled at the size of lebron james’ hands.
and the idea struck him
the silver lining to the oncoming storm.
it wasn’t the kind of scheme he would typically conceive. he prided himself on his honesty. he had won the elmore j cummings award in junior high for being the model of good citizenship. he hadn’t even known what was funny about mr. cummings’ name till he was a sophomore in high school.
he was a good kid.
but south carolina was a dangerous place.
especially for fans of alex rodriguez.
he’d been thinking about it for two solid years, slowly building up the courage. he needed to act on these feelings.
he had to make them real.
being different in high school is risky. very risky. if other kids found out, it could be devastating. some kids kill themselves. not so much in the city. but most definitely in south carolina, where the other option was a public lynching.
but here it was, a get out of the closet free card.
he was bulletproof.
he only had live here one more week, then he’d would be gone, never to return.
he could make his move without fear of retribution. the worst that could happen would be that he would be a pariah for a day or two.
then off to dixie. and a clean slate.
from the depth of despair to the height of elation.
and what made the plan perfect was that he already knew who he would seduce.
he was just a sophomore. a kid. but he had hair under his arms.
they had never talked, but he was certain there was interest. he had caught the boy staring more than once. and the boy made little effort to fit in. he threw like a girl. he played the trombone in the marching band.
but he had muscular legs from riding his bike. and he had blinding blond hair. he was actually quite beautiful, in a way that men seldom are. beautiful, but awkward.
the boy was perfect in every way.
and as sleep was finally descending, the final pieces of the plan fell into place. he happened to know there was a dance on friday night. he also knew that the sophomore was on the planning committee and would be working there. he just needed to get to the gym as the party wound down, right around ten, and casually bump into him. he could leave the rest to instinct.
he grabbed a fresh set of tube socks from under the bed.
he wouldn’t need the lotion.