“You're tough, right?” That's what Chelsea says. “Like a guy, almost.” OK, maybe I am, in some ways. Like a guy. “You box, for godssake. How many girls box?” Which is right. I do. Put me in the ring and I can take a punch. That kind of pain I can handle. “It's so cool,” she says. “It's like I can say just about anything, and it won't hurt your feelings.” But the whole time I'm thinking, “Please. Please don't. Please don't feel like you can say just anything. Not to me.” Still, Chelsea, well you know, she just goes on. “It's like you don't care that you're not pretty, or that some of the kids aren't comfortable having you around, you just let that stuff wash off.” And I want to tell her to stop, to not remind me how I look or what people think of me, because I know all that; I've got eyes, I've got ears. And you know what? I've even got a heart. Which she could see if she was thinking. But she doesn't think, not much, not Chelsea, just keeps on talking, keeps on saying, “Because you're tough, you know, you can take it. You just don't care.” And I want to tell her, “But I do, I do care. I care with all my heart and soul.” But I don't.
I don't because I'm, you know, tough.

Copyright 2012 James B. Chevallier

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