Monday, November 19, 2007

Two pictures, two years

Summer 1985, the beach, this is when you're supposed to be relaxed. You're posing for the camera, shoulders up high and the flash reflecting off eyeglasses, a red glow. It's like you're caught in headlights, terror of eyes, mouth open slightly no breathing. Still the bowl cut that looks like it may be even an actual bowl it's grown out and uneven, Izod shirt with tiny shorts someone picked out for you, one of your parents -- what's most noticeable is that your body is too small for everything, especially chest tucked in between elbows a rectangle. Your father has already said: most fat babies grow up to be fat adults. Or maybe he'll say that soon, you'll stop eating. Judging from the photo I'm guessing you've already stopped. I want to ask: why didn't anyone ask? Not about the eating -- everyone asked about that, boys weren't supposed to care about their weight. I mean: why didn't anyone say anything? They talked about the eating, that was important -- a battle they wanted to win. I mean: why didn't anyone say you look so scared, how come everything is fear? No one wanted to save you.

Summer 1987, a trip to Mexico, this is where you're supposed to be relaxed. You're posing for the camera, remember to hold chin up like nothing matters. You've spent a lot of time on your hair, brushing peroxide through and holding with mousse. Howard Jones says No one ever is to blame, you like his hair too so sensitive he'd understand. Or maybe you're already on to the Clash – We met when we were at school, never took no shit from no one. Your neck is still tiny but there’s a way unbuttoned shirt swept back over t-shirt like hair connotes nonchalance, hands tucked into belt loops on side there's a toughness. You've studied the way guys do that. You want to be one of those people who doesn't care, at least you don't want anyone to know you care, you care about that. You're learning the gestures. Of course you care about everything, you care more the more you care about not caring but soon no one will know -- you're learning what's important.

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