• Vol. 07
  • Chapter 02
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Man meets boy

"I will not fall in love with someone, who isn't vegan," he said.

How adorable. He believed that he could control his feelings, and he had some beliefs in life. I was sure he already gave up quite a few, only by downloading this dating app.

"The chance is small," he added.

How disappointing. He already figured that burning this bridge will make him full of himself but won't make anyone full of him next weekend. We only exchanged a few messages, but I could see him, sitting and eating soy yoghurt, not able to feed his soul with high expectations. I wondered, what kind of a child turns into a man who can't love any other man.

I imagined him in the second grade, attending a spelling bee. He probably got the 3rd prize, and it was the happiest day of his eight-year life. The smallest kid in class, with curly blonde hair, in an oversized sweatshirt, way too big for him but already too tight for his older brother. The smallest kid in the biggest sweatshirt wasn't the most popular one. But this was his day. He was asked to stand at the podium, and he had never been prouder of himself.

He stood there feeling strong, like on those rare occasions when his brother was sleeping at a friend's place, and the smallest kid in the class was becoming the only man in the house. He had a responsible job of making sure that mom didn't fall asleep with a lighted cigarette in her hand. He had to count the pills left in the bottles she kept in the nightstand. He knew the drill if he had found too few.


Man meets boy

He liked this evening ritual because he couldn't predict the mornings. Would mom be angry at him, or perhaps she would have the energy to make him pancakes, like twice this spring. So he clinched to this tiny amount of control and hoped, that if he and his brother follow the routine, she will be healthy again.

I imagined him coming back home with the third prize. His mom was sitting in the kitchen, staring at the open yoghurt in front of her. When he came closer and awkwardly patted her on the back, she didn't raise her eyes. He told her that he won the contest. "You did?" He showed her the congratulation letter and suddenly realized how quiet the house was. "And who was the best?" she asked and looked back at the yoghurt. It was made of cow milk.

I saw him, suddenly struck with a realization, that to be third meant nothing. It must have been then when he started to become so obsessed with expectations and with the perfect vision of himself. These were things that nobody includes in a dating profile.

"Do you like to go to the sauna?" he asked.

I did, and I was vegan, but I was never going to tell him.