When my body was 16 for real I was good at looking innocent.
I’d widen my big brown eyes and get a little pout.
Girly expressions look good on guys that age, but not too much.
An’ sometimes innocence is sexier than looks.
I knew this one woman; she taught me the ropes.
She said she was my mom, but I never believed her.
She said, “beat off Bobby so’s you don’t fidget when men touch you!”
I ain’t never got used to bein’ touched and I don’t think not beatin’ off was why.
That was the Summer of 1969 when all the kids giggled when they said the date.
That was when I met my best friend, Carl, down by Colonial Lake.
It was a hot, muggy July day in 1969 an’ all the fish in the lake died.
Carl was blowin’ up the fish with cherry bombs.
I laughed an’ said hi an asked him where he got the black eye.
He said he got in a fight that morning at his school and decide to cut out.
I told him I almost got shot the night before ’cause I really did.
He knew the projects where I lived so he knew it was true.
“You almost got shot?” I could see I had his respect. “What did you do?”
“Scream.” I answered. Then we laughed an’ blew up some more fish and became best friends.
Carl was straight, but that July day we fell in love.
Thank you for writing such a fine commentary on mental illness. And thank you for your mention of my Blog.