There is a kid who lives somewhere in my neighbourhood. He’s 10 or 12, I think. I have seen him numbers of times, mostly when he’s walking to school. I have run into him when he’s out with the family dog, too. He has a golden retriever bitch who is a big goof and who automatically rolls over for a belly rub when you look at her. It’s kinda funny. I’ve talked to him on those occasions. He’s a nerd. 100%, dyed in the wool. Sometimes I see him waiting for or walking to school with his friend, who is also a nerd. (They might be geeks, too. I suspect.) Sweet kid, skinny, wears glasses, kinda shy, talks a blue streak once he gets over it (never fails, talking to a kid about his dog). Plus, I guess, I’m old enough that I’m not “a girl”. More like his mom…
I find it interesting observing his body language when I see him walking in the mornings when I head out to my car. There is a certain tension in the upper body. A certain bend to his neck and shoulders, drawing himself in. Preparing, maybe. He always has this certain expression. I have a feeling he loves and hates school. Love for the learning; hate for the people. I’m sure he gets picked on. I’m sure he hangs out with the other nerds and the cool kids are assholes to them. I wonder if there’s some smart girl whose bangs hang in her eyes on whom he has a crush. Or who has a crush on him while he has a never-gonna-happen crush on some upper-middle-class princess.
I am curious as to who he is now. The embryonic form of so many men I’ve known. Quiet, shy, hyper-intelligent, earnest, dry of wit, more petulant than incendiary in anger, and sweet, sweet like little boys. I am curious as to what he’ll be like in 20 years (the approximate age of the men of his ilk that I date now). I wonder if he’ll study computer science or engineering or physics or if I’m totally off the mark and he’s into art or English or woodshop. Somehow I doubt it. Will he still have Lego and comic books and black t-shirts with geeky slogans and will he ever rub white crayon into the facets of a D&D die, or will all his games be played on computer? I wonder if he’ll get over the traumas of public and high school or if he’ll carry that cord of bitterness in him that I’ve seen in so many grown-up versions of him.
I know you, kid. You are my friends and my lovers and, if I ever have one, my son. It’s nice to meet you.