When we last left our ailing hero, he had just crashed and burned from his first crush ever. Our hero is young, bright, and bounces back quickly. He is also hopelessly naïve and inexperienced. He’s a buck toothed kid that’s relatively small for his age. Not stunted, just small. He has no muscle mass to speak of. He sports a relatively hardcore case of acne that, while its not total pizza face, it is bad enough to illicit comment. The partial Italian blood in him has given his slightly dark complexion an oily skin, which, while giving him good even tans and turning sunburn to brown overnight, has also contributed greatly to the zit issue. Still mostly confident at this time in his life, he asks a few discreet questions, plays fly on the wall to the conversations of some of the more popular, older folks in the choir, and slowly gathers in the lingo. You ask the girl you like to “Go with you.” That was the terminology. That meant you were boyfriend/girlfriend.
He’s now found one that has caught his eye. She’s hot. She’s blond. She’s a part of the top in crowd, the elite. He knows that he’s the butt of jokes from the in crowd at times. But again, so Naïve. He isn’t even truly aware of the invisible barrier that will forever keep geeks like him from hanging with the Goddesses of Olympos. Even once he becomes aware, he will not understand it for a long, long time. It’s just so far beyond the ken of his upbringing and his world view. He’s insecure anyway. I think that at some level, he believes that having a girlfriend, though the interest is new to him, will make that insecurity go away. I think that at some level, being the empathetic person he is, that he has already committed the grave error of establishing a yawning black hole in his heart that only a female can fill.
So she’s hot. She’s the ultimate in popularity. She’ll eventually go on to become a cheerleader in college. Yeah, she’s that good.
The setting is a Church Hayride. He goes up to her on the bus, having never had much of a conversation with her ever before. He pops the question. She has the infinite grace not to laugh in his face. She even has enough compassion for the little dumbass that she actually explains that she doesn’t really like him that way, and gently sends him away. He’s in shock. He’s crushed. He’s an emotional person as it is. For three hours, while everyone is enjoying the hayride and the picnic, he’s off by himself, bawling his eyes out. He didn’t have a jock dad to tell him that it was unmanly to cry. His dad never cried, but never told him it was wrong. He’s devastated because he doesn’t understand. He has no concept of the invisible barrier. He has no clue as to why he’s not good enough. So he’s displaying emotion the only way he knows how.
He’s also now succeeded in establishing a rep as a crybaby. Little Bucky, the crybaby. After a time, it will be one of the reasons that he doesn’t sing in the choir anymore, though his voice was good enough to make the ensemble, the small group of the choir that does the special shows.
Our hero has taken a sword to his gut. It will literally be years before he fully recovers from this wound. He doesn’t hop up and bounce back from this one, either. It was a sword of fire. And as it struck him, it burned him horribly with truth. The Truth that he DOESN’T, and CANNOT belong.
I have a feeling that there may be a part three to this. I don’t know that I am ready yet to share it. But stay tuned.