You Boys by Anita Mechler

It’s Spring. I am lying on a blanket on the ground, allowing the sunshine to light up my closed eyelids with the reds and oranges of my veins. I can hear the next-door neighbor spraying down large terracotta tiles. We are all experiencing rays of sunshine the likes of which we have not seen nor felt in some time. Flowers are wakening from their brown and dead pallor. People are shedding layers of clothing and stepping out in bright colors. Everyone’s heads are lifting up and turning and seeing. Times like these makes me think of boys, all kinds of boys now traversing the city streets.

I think of the chubby ones with sweet, rosy cheeks, just aiming to please. Or the creepy neck-chokers, who act sweet to get their way. I think of the boy who realized his beauty behind a guitar and a microphone. There are the pretty boys, who have always known it. Mama’s coddling only got them so far with women who hate wet, needy, nappies. The flower-givers, penitent or expectant. The drink-buyers. The ones with stupid doe eyes. The ones with boyish charms and floppy hair. Boys with crooked smiles and fucked up teeth. The ones with nothing to lose, on a frenetic train to the edge of a cliff. The ones whose eyes sparkle. The ones with singular loves, mad devotion, killer instincts. The ones who will talk your ear off about the most interesting things you’ve ever heard, using words that give you the tingles and slightly damp underwear.

I love thinking about them as children; imagining adult Ichabod Crane and what life path brought him to dominating asshole or cute, awkward guy with a big nose. Or he is cheerful Dicken, lover of animals, Pied Piper, mountain man whose dream it is to live in a cave. Or maybe a Humbert Humbert only satisfied with the youngest, freshest nymphette on the block. He could be Frankenstein’s monster, articulate with longing but too ugly and frightening to get the love he deserves, even from his master. What actions or fates gave force to the men they become? What innate tendencies exist in the blood, brain, or heart that created the monster and the hero?

These are men, I tell myself, not boys or fictional characters, complex creatures distilled down to few words of description. But as the wind lovingly caresses bare skin, and the sun’s rays penetrate the needy epidermis, I hold onto my observations and fantasies. We say there is nothing new under the sun, but our hearts wish for more.

Anita Mechler is a librarian and archivist by day and a writer before a deadline. She is a Chicago storyteller, celebrated day drinker, and regular contributor / co-editor at

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