I Assure You, The Charming Young Protagonist Is In No Way Based On Me
by Kenneth Drinkwater
"Unable to escape living in the paradox of a school for graduates, and having found no solace beneath the lightness of Isabelle’s gymnastic though shockingly heavy-breasted frame, nor in the sublime works of Klopstock, Kenneth retreated, like so many Americans, chased by the ghosts of privilege into that last hope for dreamer-rogues such as him and his immediate group of friends: The Gymnasium.
And so they ran. On treadmills, in rows, with words written on them that signified so much nothing. “Crunch!” their chests impelled. Imaginary lacrosse team logos, real lacrosse team logos, the lettering flaking away as brittle house paint, faded or distressed, it didn’t matter; they ran together, feet shock-cushioned against the Sisyphean whirl. They exercised themselves. Pushing this city, their city, from their pores, letting it be carried away in rivulets, wiped off according to the guidelines and wrung out from towels And yet. And yet. And yet this city’s promises were still full of truth. Its truths still full of hope.
Staring out the great glass window facing midtown, catching stray glances of radiant women who had a glimmer of the old order to them, giggling through the populist milieu that sidewalks always bring, Kenneth suddenly saw it. He saw himself reflected over them. On top of them. Invisible in his visibility, separated from the world of the real and yet forever bearing witness.
If only to reach out and touch them! To say, I love you! I love you all! I want to walk with you and hold your hand! Kiss your neck! Smell your hair! To lay palms against your chest in exultant, pantless confession.
But no. There was no way to confess. They, too far away to hear. He, too busy running to catch them."