Hemlock High

Cycling

The Difficulties of Being a Jock

 

As she walked towards me in her too-bright clothes with her funky hair-do, all I was able to see, to truly see, were her eyes, blue as the ocean, and sharp as daggers. “You think you’re cool with your varsity jacket and your teammates and your perfectly toned body?!” She was yelling at me, and I didn’t understand why someone like her would care about someone like me. Words continued flying out of her mouth, but I paid no attention.

The way her shawl was draped around her shoulders made me want to draw her in close, mid-sentence, and inhale deep, smelling her perfume and radiantly painted lips. So what if she was the only girl in school who wore red lipstick to class? So what if her clothes aren’t the colors that society deemed “cool”? So what if she wore exotic makeup? I liked that. So far, she’s been the only one, and God was it exciting.

I’ve been leading this boring life, dating this beautiful girl who just ignores everything I do. All she cares about are what the rest of the cheerleaders are doing. But now, I take my milk carton, and instead of throwing it in the recyclables bin, I put it in the normal trash, an action 95% of this school would never care about, hardly even notice, and Roxy’s got something to say about it. Something? Who am I kidding, I’ve been standing here for two minutes already and she’s been yelling at me the entire time.

“Just because you can throw another guy over your head or roll around in his sweat doesn’t mean you’re all that and a bag of chips and dips, mister. You have to worry about the environment, too!” God, I loved the way she said environment. The word just rolled off her tongue. “You’re! Not! Above! It! All!” She poked my chest each time she said a word in that sentence, and with “all”, I grabbed her finger and drew her in close to me. From the corner of my eye, I could see Jamie jerk her attention away from her friends as this unfolded, but I didn’t care. Roxy had stopped talking and we were just staring into each other’s eyes. She was an entire head shorter than me, but as I looked down upon her, and as she offered me the smallest of smiles, I knew that Jamie and I were through. My heartbeat quickened as I wondered if Roxy would accept me for what I’m sure she sees as my flaws.

 

Suzanne asked me, “Are you sure we’ll get the posters done in time? The recycling-awareness-event starts in three days, and it doesn’t seem much like people care about any form of recycling as it is. Just take a look at Max.” Sure enough, I trained my eyes on the spot she motioned towards just in time to see Max Stone toss his water bottle into the trash can. The 6’1” hunk of 165 lbs. didn’t so much as flinch when the bottle missed the recycling bin by inches, but soared effortlessly into the trash can. I looked back at Suze, but she was lost in a gaze, probably daydreaming about that senseless wrestler. That’s it. It was time to do something about that dumb jock. No matter how popular he was and how unpopular I was, I had to confront him.

“I’ll be back, Suzy,” although I doubt she heard me as I got up and began to walk towards the muscle-bound meathead. Halfway across the room, I seemed to catch his attention, and he looked me right in the eyes. Those eyes! They were like a gift from God himself, but no time to think about that right now. Had to be strict. I was now within earshot and I had to say something; had to make it sound good and angry. I yelled towards him, “You think you’re cool with your varsity jacket and your teammates and your perfectly toned body?!” Did I just say that? No matter, time for the next string of attacks.

“What’s your problem? Don’t you realize that the recycling bin is, literally, taped to the trash can so that you, with your oversized arms and legs, don’t have to tire yourself out by walking any further to get to it?!” Did I actually just refer to his body again? I’ve GOT to stop doing that! “You think you’re cool (I yelled this complete with air quotations) simply because you have a varsity jacket, a group of followers and you appear not to care about anything?! Well let me tell you something, buddy.” With this, I lowered my voice to a whisper, “You’re not.” That seemed to get his attention. Now for my final strike.

“Just because you can throw another guy over your head or roll around in his sweat doesn’t mean you’re all that and a bag of chips and dips, mister. You have to worry about the environment, too!” Why does it look like he’s not even listening to me? He’s clearly looking into my eyes, but he’s got this dreamy, out-of-body look to him. This is so frustrating! Interjecting each word with a rough poke, I snarled through my teeth, “You’re! Not! Above! It! All!” Ah-ha! It looks like I’m getting through to him, he’s backing off. No, wait, what? Why’s he holding my hand? I can’t resist his gaze, those eyes are just like the ocean on a warm summer’s day. He holds me now, the entire room fades out of focus, but it’s OK. It’s safe here in his arms and as I look up at him, I know I can change him. I know he’ll be more considerate soon enough. My heartbeat quickens as I think about all the possibilities for us once he decides to change his ways.

 

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