BTS Book Reviews Issue 18 - Page 104

| Woven by Kellyann Zuzulo | than all the boys back then. Kevin was the only one who didn’t call me beanpole. Is that why I loved him with my fraught, juvenile perception of romantic love? Even back then, through my scratched glasses and heavy bangs that let me peek at the world unnoticed, I saw that Kevin Spinelli was everything I wanted. Straight and considerate, with a twinkle in his cobalt blue eyes. When he told me a new knock-knock joke every Monday, no matter how corny, I always giggled. Then his family had moved away the summer after eighth grade, and I never heard from him again. He continued to stand there, across narrow Sansom Street, hands thrust into the pockets of a dove gray barn jacket. We stood five years and five yards apart. In the settling shadows of dusk, he appeared transparent, a figment of the past. In a sense, he was. My heart clutched. For an instant, I was twelve, gangly, and tingly all over again. I glanced behind me. Snow sparkled on the sidewalk, held in suspension by the dropping temperatures. My breath clouded around my mouth in a heavy sigh. I could turn and walk away. It was the cowardly, but safe, route. He hadn’t seen me yet. We wouldn’t have to be forcefully polite and ask all the right questions: Where do you live now? Where do you go to school? Do you see anybody from the old neighborhood? But, really, it was only one question that made me want to run: What if he doesn’t remember me? Snow began to fall in earnest when I looked back across the street at Kevin. He had tilted his head upward as though to feel the flakes on his face. It was a magical moment. He appeared ageless, innocent. The face of the boy I once watched sprint past my bedroom window in full football regalia, heading home from practice, chin tucked in, cradling an invisible football, a Homeric warrior of intramural sports. 104 | I don’t know why I did it. Maybe it was that image of a resolute Kevin running across green lawns that stretched for suburban miles. Maybe it was the prompting chirp of the pedestrian signal. On impulse, I hoisted my fatigue green messenger bag onto my shoulder and stepped from the curb toward him. Black tar shone beneath my feet like onyx, frosted by the first flurry of the season. One heel of my brown leather combat boots slipped sideways as I pressed down for traction. It crossed my mind that, were I to actually talk to Kevin, I hoped he would glance down at some point and see the knee-high splurge I had allowed myself. The sleek wraps of leather were mod and sassy. Wearing these boots, I felt like someone who had somewhere fabulous to be. At the blare of a car horn, I jerked back the foot that was still poised in midair. One arm flailed. I clutched my bag and stumbled back just as a blue sports car whooshed past me, trailing a loud wail. A yellow metal newspaper box broke my fall, but a hard corner cut into my hip. Shaking, I looked down to inspect myself. Sharp burning prickles radiated up my left thigh into my lower back. My beautiful brown boots were splattered with dark flecks. My tablet slipped from the bag into a mound of slush. I peeked back toward Kevin. There would be no escape now. Kevin was rushing across the street toward me. A sweep of black hair had fallen across his brow, and he pushed it back with a flick of his fingers. He smiled, revealing that—except for the charcoal dusting of a late-day beard across a square chin— he looked very much the same. Seeing him like t