The boy that sits in the back of the class never says anything. I note his attendance by the flexing arms muscles. He came but never left the space within my head. I think about him sixteen hours later when I’m feeling lonely.
Would he climb into bed with me? No, probably not. Not even if he was single. His body and mine might inhabit the same room but not the same bed. Play dough can mold itself into a rock but it can never become an actual rock.
I try to tell myself that this thought is unfair to my self-esteem. But the feeling of insecurity guides me to the bathroom mirror. I look in it and notice all the lumpy shadows. They gather beneath my chest and around my belly like an impenetrable ozone layer.
I sigh. They’ll never go away. Three months ago I began a new workout plan. Six days a week I’d push and pull weights in hope of transforming my body. The boulder-thick men at gay clubs garnered all the attention, and for once maybe that could be me.
Small grapefruits rolled down my arms whenever they bent down to pick up a pencil. I began to see changes but my dating life stayed the same. No one seemed to notice the grapefruit man.
This leads me to believe that no one cares about body image. The couple next door seems happy with one another. They hold hands despite his pregnant belly and her bloated hips. Love exists between humans and not within words.
I get up to look in the mirror. A different kind of man looks back. His gray skin glows beneath the bright lights. He wraps himself in a half-hearted smile. Tonight will be the best night ever.
I take myself out dancing. Twinkling lights spin around me like fairy dust. Hands pump up and down. A guy named Carlos dances two feet away. We close in the gap and feel happy.