A Running Youth

I was in love once with a boy I didn’t know very well, his hands and eyes and very being felt skeletal on my fingers, there was something slippery about his presence, I always knew that he’d be gone later, for a day or two and eventually longer.

When he was in the room, I could feel him there occupying nearly all of my mind, and there settled on my skin like he was a mere touch away, even if a crowd was around and we conversed about menial things, I couldn’t help but be immersed by him.

And once a friend asked me what I loved so much about him, injecting that to declare myself in love at such a young age was foolish. I couldn’t say what it was, his face had a certain softness that was also very masculine, clear but forgiving cheekbones held up a pair of bright and hopeful eyes, with a shine that rubbed and rewarded. Even months into our relationship, I was careful about what I said, scared to say the wrong thing, I tried to seem witty, entertaining, observant, warm and consciously built the persona of a companion.

People thought it was weird, that he was much older than I was. And he was much better with them than, I was back then, an unrelenting introvert and I didn’t see value in casual friendships and was content to be a loner, so when the two of us were together he’d speak for the both of us, insisting on the inclusive “we” and knew when I was uncomfortable or tired.

We didn’t listen to the same music or read the same books, but I’d insist to share what I had and thought myself as the one with better taste. We’d lounge in my bedroom, take different ends and I’d play Erykah Badu on loop and sometimes caught him wiggling his tiny hairy toes to the beat, I’ve never been one to smile or put an overt display of joy, but having him around made me happy in a very uncomplicated way.

What concerned me was the way he dealt with people, it was easy for him to engage in conversation, and it was in his nature to be kind and approachable, but beyond that, I wasn’t sure if he could ever love any thing or person passionately, if he could feel that lust and burn that made me feel painfully awake, that if he was simple, or hollow.

And I regret ever being curious about this, because there came a day when I discovered, he could hold on to something furiously but later show no remorse about losing it, that he could not bring himself to fight for anything, stripped of want or feeling he’d drift in and out, forever hard to grab, and impossible to keep.

But there you go, since this boy, I’m approaching 40 and have met many other men, some of which I cared for more than the others, but some part of me is always missing him, as if the only thing I could ever truly crave was the one thing that I could never call my own.


(thank you B for being so frank)

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