We had this video to watch for Shakespeare class. So Kevin rented it and I came over. I tried to pay attention to the faggy nobles, but all I could see was the shiny reflection of light off his shaved legs. I don't know why he shaved his legs. He rode a bike. He was a vegetarian. He was kind of crunchy. But none of those seemed like reasons.

I had Kevin in most of my classes by junior year. We were both tutors, English majors, off campus students with permanent fixtures for SO's. But we weren't really friends. We just had so much in common. To get along at this point was inevitable. And my crush on him wasn't helping.

I knew I could never have him, that we were not well suited to one another. And it wasn't even that I desired him sexually, but that he was the kind of person I wanted to keep close to me, in my pocket, in my head, willing company. I wanted his crooked smile, skinned knuckles, raggedy sweaters and frayed baseball caps to be the shrapnel of my life, the debris of some forbidden passion.

I used to doodle on my hand, a place where I had always wanted a tattoo. In the web between my left thumb and forefinger, I traced triangles and swirls. He would watch me from across the long table in the library for Thorton Writing Seminars we took back to back each year, relentlessly trying to stay interested. My ears would catch on fire, like I was drunk, when he stared at me. It felt in a way like getting a tattoo might feel. Part of you wants to sit through it and another part wants to run out screaming; it's halfway between tickle and torture.

So, I've decided that this is the sensation I am used to, the toss up between being queasy and cold, distanced from the heat or on fire. No extreme sits alone when you're dealing with other humans.

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