When, your junior year of high school, you played tennis at Lyons Park with a boy who lived down the street from you, whom you’d known since grade school, only neither of you knew how to play tennis. You didn’t really hang out at school much—he was a senior and seemed to talk only of girls he was trying to work up the nerve to call, girls with more money than he or you had ever known, and you perhaps wondered why he never saw you this way but you never said a word about it. You appreciated the way he always talked to your brother, who had a degenerative condition that caused his mouth to perpetually gape and slobber as he slapped this boy’s back and loudly told him Hi at the lunch table or at the grocery store where your brother bagged people’s food and took it to their cars. Maybe you saw your tennis games with this boy, filled with calls of “Strike!” and backhands over the fence, as a break from the relationships boys and girls were supposed to have in high school—absent the struggle of whether to call you or not, the cotton mouth when you did answer the phone, this boy treated you a lot like he probably did in grade school, only now standing on opposites side of the net on the cusp of adulthood. Hopefully now, on the other side of the curtain with children of your own older than you were then, not having kept in touch since those dates on the court, you remember these tennis games every now and then, as this boy does.

What are the Sneaky Feels?

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AuthorJohn Proctor