by Griffyn Gillian, from Tread Lightly a Ponyboy Curtis zine
Maddy Costa has made some beautiful Ponyboy Curtis zines that are free at every performance of vs.
He is tall. As tall as he wants to be. And thin. Not Thin. Just. thin, in the ankles. Or thin in his smile, when he’s been standing a little longer than he knows what to do with. Fingertips on your neck that change. Rough in the spring and fall, soft in the summer. He shaves when you least expect it. A slit in the eyebrow. A streak on one side of the head. A beard, the chest, just plain head hair you watched him grow for months and months and months and he never tried to explain why.
He’s lean. Too lean to catch you slowly, sometimes. The kind of muscle that challenges you to a push-up contest and somehow he wins or you win but you don’t get close to finishing. Maybe he’s quick to lose a fight he promised you wouldn’t happen. But that’s just teenage stuff you can put in the past.
He’s looking at your back, wondering about your spine. His eyes are softer than you remember. And he’s wearing a fresh coat. Familiar, same harsh zipper, subtle phase shift on the angles of his shoulders and turn of his wrist, alien skeleton and colour.
So it’s a whisper, and it’s one that you don’t hear; no one hears anything, and they all imagine something different. And you think he probably asks you to take a walk. Or offers you a fag. It’s cacophonous between you. His sunglasses are welding goggles are tight pants are a breath just off-field. Are shedding in abandon.
And his bed isn’t very far away. No one probably sleeps in it that night, not even him. But it’s that space between the bonfire and the mattress they all imagine; settle into all the multitudinous spaces in the half-conscious grasping of hands before the sunrise begins to seep in.