The kid in line looks broken, bent at the hip like a less than mark, as if he’s missing ribs on that side. He walks with a looping gait, ratchety, and kicks a stanchion so that it whirls before bouncing off the wall of glass and hitting me in the knee.
He doesn’t look up. He finds his wallet and buys his movie ticket just like anyone.
In grade school I wore Army Surplus clothes. I kept my bangs so long they’d curl at the ends, any way to hide myself, to camouflage the rash of angry acne craters.
The only one who talked to me had a body like this boy, but her chest was set up high, a stack of too many hard back books, swallowing her neck until it seemed she was nothing more than head and ribs and bird legs.
She never said it, but she loved me.
When the new kid moved to our town he didn’t know any better. He wore puka shells and polo-shirts and cologne that smelled like forests. He took me as a friend before the others could warn him, and then they quickly fell in line, too, acquiescing, because that’s how staying popular works.
A week into summer, she moved away, proof to me of God’s existence, his mercy and his grace.
Len Kuntz lives on a lake in rural Washington with an eagle and three pesky beavers. His work has appeared in Dogzplot, Juked, Rumble, Storyglossia, Word Riot, and many other fine places.