The first time I became completely aware of him was on a fall day, close to the beginning of the high-school year. He was leaning against a rail near the band room, his arms outstretched along the rail top, and had his face turned toward a friend. I knew I didn’t know his name, although I knew his friend. But I really wasn’t thinking about his name right then, or why I knew his friends but didn’t know him. Mostly, right then – the day I became aware of him – I was noticing his arms.
He stretched them further across the metal pole, and I took another breath. Being in the early years of high school, I was pretty much relegated to boys with linguini arms. The boys with linguini arms would sort of fling them around when they danced with you, loop them around your waist if they dated you, and force little golf-ball-sized muscles to pop if they tried to suddenly open a heavy door.
But Superman, standing there with his nonchalance, had arms. He had actual muscles, forming clear mounds from his shoulders, biceps and triceps, the likes of which I’d never seen on a boy our age. He wasn’t tall – from a distance, I thought he might even be shorter than me – but his muscles pressed against the bands of his polo sleeves, and his forearms had actual shape to them, tapering like narrow triangles. His skin was the color of coffee, smooth and consistent, and he leaned back, against the rail, to talk with his friend, and smiled.
And I thought, wow, what a smile.
And wow, what arms.
I turned away, though. I unraveled the cling-wrap around my sandwich, there in the quad, unfolding the edges carefully along the brick planter. I tried not to look up again. I wanted to, of course, but I didn’t. Mostly because I wasn’t eating alone. I was sitting there with my boyfriend, who was glancing over my shoulder at Superman, and giving me a funny look. …
Click here for Part 2: The Obstacle…