My unpublished manuscript ‘Knowing When You’re Too Young to Grow Up’ chronicles Andrew Brown’s struggle to reconnect with his best friend Pete Goodman as a lurid secret Andrew has never told threatens to break them apart for good.
As I mentioned in “A Reintroduction: The Prologue,” I intend to post edited chapters every few weeks. Here’s a sample from Chapter 12. As always, feedback is STRONGLY encouraged via the contact tab or comments section.
Whenever I go to Manhattan, I always pity the horses willing their tired bodies down Park Avenue with dirges of huffs and grunts in a drawn-out, spectacular march towards death. No longer the majestic beasts of their youth, just broken down and more sluggish than glue, hoping for a heart attack before their legs break and they’re euthanized.
Their automated counterparts I’m currently watching rotate in a burnt-out piazza that Glenn might or might not have named are in a similar lot, tired and abused – wearily working, working, always working. They, who jerkily buck up and down out of sync to the organ music they’re supposed to keep up with, whose nostrils once flared pink and red but are now dull pennies, whose faces no longer have faces after the weather stripped them away, comprise the saddest carousel I’ve ever seen.
Yet, to the kids who ride these downtrodden beasts, they are atop Secretariats and Man O’ Wars. They see what we can no longer see – the imaginary – and truly believe they are champion riders. To them, they are. Friends. Little shits.
I turn to Ant’s gaze. It’s needy – not clingy needy, but I miss you needy. It feels good.
She wraps her fingers around mine. “What’s going on with Pete?”
Close by, Pete’s moping around. He’s been all lugubrious since his teacher stopped lugging him around like her carry-on.
“I guess when a guy gets a girlfriend sometimes he forgets who his friends are. But he’s coming around I think.” And he is. Finally.
“Or, in your case” – she stirs at my side – “when a guy gets a girlfriend, he sometimes forgets who she is.”
I wince. “Ouch, I stepped into that, didn’t I?”
“Yeah, that was too easy” – she pauses to let me feel her dig a little more – “but I’m just joking. Who is she anyway, his girlfriend?”
“Just some girl Julie, ” I bristle, not wanting to lie to her.
“You don’t know her,” I add hastily. “She’s older or something.”
“Wait, isn’t Ms. Benevo’s name–”
“Yes, yes it is!” I stammer. And I don’t say anything else at first until I feel her eyes asking me one more time if it’s our teacher we’re talking about because she’s sure it is. And I can’t hide it from her and I don’t want to, so I sigh, “Yes, we’re talking about Ms. Benevo.”
I anticipate a loquacious reaction from her, not that she’s like that but it is, after all, the juiciest gossip since Alice O’Malley took down the football team. Yet, Ant doesn’t really have much of a reaction just like Becky didn’t outside St. Peter’s. It’s as if I simply confirmed what she already knew.
She squeezes my hand three times. “Crazy” is all she says.
“Completely.” I squeeze hers back, wanting to tell her my story even more. But I can’t no matter how nice and understanding she is because while there’s I want to date you nice and understanding, there’s also stay away from me nice and understanding once she finds out your art teacher sodomized you and you returned the favor by raping her.
Copyright (C) 2017 Andrew Chapin