I never played physical football. The only thing I know about football is that they wear tight clothes. I did pretend to like football once with a high school crush.
On Football Video Games
I walked down the steps, through the den, and into Jack’s bedroom behind him. He offered me a corner to put my backpack.
“So, this is it,” Jack said. His bed was on the left side of the room. There were folded clothes next to his pillows. Above his bed had an Evanescence and a Lacuna Coil poster. Rob Zombie was behind the television on his dresser. There was a blue bean bag chair at the foot of his bed. His brother’s bed was bigger and on the right side of the room. His brother’s dresser was against the opposite wall, and he had a larger television.
Jack took off his shirt and sprayed some cologne. “You want anything to drink?” There was a small refrigerator just outside his room. It held an assortment of cheap department store branded sodas. Red cream and strawberry flavors dominated the few cans of grape. There was one diet Coke.
“I’m okay for now,” I said. Jack took a red cream soda and chugged it. His elbow extended and his chest stretched. There was hair under his arms, but no hair on his chest. “You can get comfortable,” he said. He changed into a pair of athletic shorts. His legs were skinny and were as tan as his chest. I brought a pair of sweatpants in my backpack, but I left my jeans and thin black sweater on. I took off my shoes.
He laid out some video games over the blue and white quilt on his bed. He switched on the PlayStation 2 as I checked out his collection. The title screen of Madden 2002 loaded. Footsteps walked across the floor above us. He closed his bedroom door.
“Do you play Madden?” He asked.
“I have before,” I said. It was a lie. He handed me a controller. He sat on the edge of his bed with his legs spread apart. I pulled the bean bag chair away from his bed a ways and sat down in it. I picked the 49ers. He was the Broncos. Plays were presented along the bottom of the screen. I mostly lost yards and failed at blocking Jack. When I meant to sprint, I passed. I preferred playing defense, that way I could look up and over my shoulder more. I scored a touchdown accidentally once. He got down off his bed and grappled me at my shoulders.
“You’re getting it!” He said. I blushed when he touched me. I realized this, so I laughed.
We played Madden all evening until we got tired. The only thing I learned about football that night was that they wore tight clothes.
“You can sleep in my brother’s bed if you want. He won’t be here. Or the couch out in the den. Wherever you want,” Jack said. He went upstairs to the bathroom. His brother’s bed had Guns and Roses and Black Sabbath posters, and their records hung above it. They were all symmetrically separated. The records were placed like bricks in masonry work. When Jack returned, I walked all the way up the stairs to the bathroom to change into my sweatpants. When I got back to his brother’s bed, I took off my sweater. I slept in my white shirt. I knew I was gay.
I’ve been blogging about my childhood and high school a lot lately. I wrote this post about the first time I cooked mac and cheese. I wrote this post about one of the times I came out as gay to a friend.
Have you ever pretended to like something because of a crush?
I don’t think I’ve played a football video game since then. Someone will have to actually teach me how football works one day. Have you ever pretended to like something for a crush?
Also, the edits for the paperback of my book, Crushes, are coming along. I promise it’ll be out and available for purchase soon. It’s a short fiction collection.