He is tall, dark and handsome; all the girls love Clark. “But we’ll forgive him that,” said my friend A once, and my friend B chipped in that she, too, once dated a very handsome man. “He trotted,” she imparted, and dimpled, mischievous. Clark doesn’t trot, but does wear himself consciously: as if in costume as a tall, dark, handsome man.
He’s from a nice family from a humourless corn state. In his town, the Pumpkin Queen wept as she was crowned. He felt out of place, he was not one of the popular kids. His best friend was his chemical dependency counsellor, a penniless obese man with a great soul.
He has favourite Taco Bell, Wendy’s, Burger King orders. Most meals he eats in his car, among his dirty clothes. One year he lived in the bed store where he works. I asked him if he slept on a different bed every night, and he allowed as he had his favourites. To me (although it wasn’t) it sounds like heaven. I always wished he would move back to the bed store.
Often his nice face narrows in thought – he is visibly then a nerd. He looks uncomfortably wet, his thinning hair is suddenly noticeable. He is pointy, like a peevish snapping turtle. Then he will again grin and become a heartthrob.
He studied martial arts for four years; he had a talent. He still moves elegantly, fluidly, and fast. When he jokingly threatens to kick a guy’s ass, the guy mock-backs down, miming fear. “Whoa!” says the guy, putting his hands up. Then everyone laughs like an excitedly barking dog.
He doesn’t know what he wants to be, but he is 30. Every day he burns with this embarrassing passing time. In this sleepy mountain town, he is a type of sleeping beauty: men in thrall to the boy who is not good enough to grow into the man the boy expected to be.