Long ago, a boy surveys the series of heads that swivel toward the direction
of a woman, towels draped across the base of her neck as he marvels magnetism
and if skin operates within the same guidelines. In what feels like years later,
the same boy offers a compliment on his brother’s outerwear and is told, Pause.
This is the first time he is told this by another boy and he wonders about the
world all over again—only this time he thinks maybe the pause is mistaken,
or that the other boy wants them both to reflect on what hasn’t been said yet, or
maybe they were taught inversely or, honest to god, he just assumed his heart
stopped and meant to say, Bless you. At the banquet, it was thought polite to
fret over the little things. So when their mothers approach their seats, he pulls
one out for his. When he mentions his highlights from etiquette to the other
boys back in third period, they laugh. When it is not clear whether it is at him or
with him, he plays it off to make sure it’s with. He does things, like leave out
the fact that he’s well aware of what nail polish looks like and does or that he
still does not know why the practice of averting is too much to ask of himself.
When the music video shows the girl blushing at the guy dancing on the street
to impress her, he blushes as well. He’s still not sure why but at least this
time there’s enough eye contact and dialogue that even the sun’s flushed and
watching intently. There’s plenty of pants to go around, so much so that the
question of who will wear them in their relationship never comes up. The next
time he is given the choice by his homies to jump into the cypher, he sings.
Read more from Issue No. 23 or share on Facebook and Twitter.