The Alphabet

July 22, 2009
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Although Aidan hated the blood and guts that came free with the viewing of any high budget war film, he loved the deep emotional connection he could seize within himself for two hours and fifteen minutes.

“Behold,” trickled words of wonderment from the corners of Phil’s smiling mouth, “Saving Private Ryan!”

Coming from across the room, he put the DVD in the player, plopped down on the couch next to Aidan and tossed him a soda; Aidan hated soda.

“Damn, that’s intense,” Aidan said after they watched a man shoot another in the head. Every time he saw those disturbing images, Aidan would cringe while Phil would widen his eyes and reach his hand into the bag of Doritos. For every ounce of cool Aidan had, Phil had always had a pound.

Gargling his excessive masculinity in his throat like mouthwash, he casually spat it through a mischievous grin in Aidan’s direction.

“Hey, dude, turn it up; I can’t hear over your whining.”

“I wasn’t whining.”

Jostled but still faking comfort, Aidan sat as loosely as he could with both of his feet planted on the floor and his legs open, like a real man. Keeping a steady demeanor was getting harder for him to control. Largely affected by the imagery of the film, Aidan began to sense something stirring in his stomach. Marooned on this heavy feeling inside himself, his eyes moistened. Noticing almost immediately that Phil had glanced over at him, Aidan adjusted his sitting position so as to change his friend’s line-of-sight. Oceans of relief passed over him when Phil didn’t say anything. Phil, instead, was again glued to the screen. Querulously, just as the movie neared the end and reached its important climatic moments, Phil prepared to speak. Readying himself for verbal gunfire and overt hostility, Aidan clenched his fists in a combination of frustration and terror. Suddenly, Phil looked at him in disgust. The two were silent, until Phil finally spoke.

“Uh, dude, are you crying?”

Varying his weak and mumbling voice from defensive to anxious, Aidan was left speechless with bright rosy cheeks. With disdain quickly turning to embarrassment and back to contempt, Aidan, for once, talked back.

“X-chromosomes come in both women and men, Phil; I’m allowed to cry.”

Yellow spots dotted his eyes like he stood up too fast. Zillions of Aidan’s pores closed shut and kept the immense heat of the moment in his core as Phil’s eyes witnessed this seldom-occurring rebellion, and, despite the fact that he believed it would be an empowering thing to say, Aidan was scared to death.





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