SynopsisDenny, 17, is a lonely amateur boxer with an extraordinary IQ, working under the instruction of a morally-unsound coach. Denny is constantly beaten and berated by his alcoholic father, and his only joy is boxing, which doesn't sit well in his gut. Lars is a young, shy, aspiring musician whose best friends have paired off and left him the third wheel. His mother is just a shell of her former self since his father passed 4 years ago, and sometimes he feels like everything is falling apart. Because he lacks any kind of social skills required to end his loneliness, sometimes Denny just wants to end it all, but some strange inkling of hope keeps him going. In contrast, Lars is so fierce in his "realism" that he's become absolutely certain he'll never fall in love with a man who feels the same way. Both boys feel alone, kicking up dust day after day, wondering why life never makes sense and waiting for something better, something they think may never come. But then they find it. They find each other.
ExcerptAs a kid, most of my toys came from boxes adorned with "FREE" signs cast out on curbsides. I had remote control cars from the 80s, missing wheels. I had GI Joes with an arm or leg that must have been amputated in the war. I had stuffed animals with popped off button eyes that leaked cotton fluff. Then when I was 8, I found a dirt-caked set of Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots.
They changed everything.
I would imagine the red, broken robot was my father, and I was the blue one. The blue would punch the red over and over, mercilessly. It was my revenge. I couldn't fight him in reality, but my Rock 'Em Sock 'Em alter-ego achieved what I couldn't. It was my only release. Throughout my childhood, the only time I didn't feel completely pathetic - hell, sometimes I felt downright powerful - was when pretending I was that stupid blue plastic, boxing robot.
I blame the toy for my absurd, unwavering obsession with boxing.
I don’t know what it is about fighting. Why I like it so much. Why I need it so much. I hate violence. Unbelievable that a boxer hates violence, maybe, but it’s true. I can handle it in the ring, where it’s a mere game, where the conflict will eventually be resolved with a handshake, inevitably. But hell, in reality, I can hardly bring myself to squish a spider. It doesn’t make any sense to me. I’ve been boxing since I was 13 now, and I like to think it’s made me really tough and badass. It hasn’t. I still can’t defend myself against my father. I still flinch at the slightest movement in my direction. I always thought boxing would build me up, but I’m still as broken down as ever.
But now I’m addicted. Addicted to the echos of sneakers on the gym floor. Addicted to the sweaty but slick smell of the mats. Addicted to the amazing release I feel when my glove makes contact. I need it. I need to fight. I’ll go insane if I don’t.
What does that say about me?
Sometimes when I'm crossing the street, I imagine myself just stopping. Just stopping in the middle of the road and letting the SUVs and the Metro Transit buses have their way with me. Sometimes I just can't figure out what the point is anymore, why I should keep going. But for whatever reason, I do. Maybe I think that if I just wait, then maybe someday...maybe someday something worthwhile will happen. Something worth the wait.
Pine forest eyes. He doesn't have green eyes, he has pine forest eyes. His skin isn't pale, but soft and white like the snow, gleaming like the moon on a clear night. His lips are an almost unnatural color, a deep and rich raspberry hue, and when he speaks I see nothing but his lips and the words dripping from them, pouring from his mouth like a sieve. And the only thing I want is to feel him. When I'm with him, it's like the rest of the world doesn't even exist, and nothing else matters. I want to tell him this. I want to hold him and touch him and kiss him and I want us to make each other happy. Here we are, sitting together against the fence, talking about how goddamn lonely we both are. It doesn't make sense. Why can't we just save each other?