He sat back on the bench and looked across the green at the boys playing ball. Admiring the combative dance of their bodies, their elastic motion, the effortless beauty. Things he could no longer recall in himself.
One boy in particular caught his eye, and as Albert watched he gathered details. From the tightness of his shorts when he turned. The pull of the t-shirt across his chest. The narrow waist exposed as he reached for a high-flying ball, the hint of hair peeking above the waistband. All of which, added to the exposed limbs, the sinews of the neck, the overall proportions, gave Albert enough to imagine him naked. Though small details still evaded him: the extent of body hair, the size of the boy’s sex.
Looking away, his eyes unfocused as he assembled the parts, and Albert crossed his legs, a wistful smile on his lips while he gazed through the air at the pieced-together image. Darting glances back at the boy to confirm or refine a feature.
When certain of what he’d created, he sighed and got up to leave, the game had now lost its interest.
At home again, he conjured the boy’s image while lying across his bed. To release himself.
But when he wiped off after, he felt empty. Sensing that he’d killed not just a hunger, but the sweet wonder of beauty.
D. Z. Watt lives in Scotland, where the people are lovely and the weather isn’t.