A new story by alumna Elisabeth Hamilton appears in Necessary Fiction: 

Boys, you notice, have perfect hair. It sticks up in just the right way — after a swim meet, after a soccer match, after changing their shirts. You think their hair is the best thing about them, even when they wrestle, finding a thing they want in someone’s hand — a box of matches, a basketball, a trading card — and pounce, scrap, pull, scuffle, roll. They pant. They come up triumphant, object between fingers, gasping for air, hair-perfect, and then they are pulled down again, shoving bodies into carpet, into turf, elbows in ribs and hands around ankles and cheeks pressed against chests, smelling of sweat, the taste of a sweet briny palm as it shoves a face into mud. The only thing you want that badly is a body that does not fold and grow soft, that could put holes in sheetrock, that could bounce off of walls. On TV, you watch street dancers who use their bodies like skateboards or boomerangs, who flip and turn and curl, and you, in the mirror in the bathroom, grow breasts.

The boys grow muscle, sprout. Their waists become the tip of the V underneath their cotton shirts. They bump up against one another. Grow more hair, more chest. They wrestle. They cannot keep their hands away — from each other, from the slick line of sweat underneath a jaw.

Out of nowhere, they get angry. You notice it. You recognize it, it sits in your belly, too. You could sit on the white wall of the campus center and dangle your thin ankles, shove your feet into sambas, let your shorts dangle around your knees, and watch things unfold. Keep your eyes low under a baseball cap. You could drive your father’s shit-can car around the suburbs at night, up and down the fog of 280, hit a deer, hit three deer, steal street signs and plunge them into the lawn, give old ladies the finger, saw the heads off of statues, vandalize the gym, the student center, the locker room. You could. When your friend Tim walks by them, they whistle, call him faggot. What do they have to be so angry about, with bodies like those?

No more touching.

Continue reading online at Necessary Fiction.

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