Things That Those Boys Taught Me • Holy Angels Edition 那些男孩教我的事 • 圣天使版
Boy Number One: The Basketball Boy
By: Kevin Tsai/Tsai Kang Yong/Cai Kang Yong 蔡康永
I met the first boy on the sports field.
The boy’s hair was cut very short. In fact, all the boys at school had the same short hair. But only his face was able to compliment such a short cut, and make it look natural.
He wasn’t very tall. But for a thirteen-year-old boy, being short isn’t such a fatal flaw, since their current height isn’t yet a life sentence.
An exaggerated way of saying things would be, when short boys are playing basketball, there is an additional desperate ferocity that you simply don’t see in tall boys.
I’ll just call him The Basketball Boy.
When Basketball Boy isn’t playing basketball, he mostly muddles along listlessly without aim. His monolids seem to have been specially designed for muddling along.
If it was only muddling along then there’s really nothing appealing about him, what’s special about him was his often easily displayed irritation and impatience.
“Tsk!” He’d cut his eye at someone or something, then put his hands in his back pockets, and walk away looking annoyed.
As his schoolmate, all these unique things about him felt new and interesting to me.
I showed no desperate ferocity on the basketball court. Not a single minute of my life was spent muddling along listlessly without aim. Fate has decided to put a crease in my eyelids. And I’m rarely irritated and impatient, even if I was, I seldom let it show.
Which is why I found Basketball Boy’s existence so rare and peculiar, and so very interesting to observe.
I even found the fact that he wears his uniform very tightly, to be an extraordinary feat.
“You wear your pants so tightly, aren’t you tired?” I asked.
“I am,” he replied.
“Then why don’t you wear a more loose pair?” I asked again.
“Cuz it’s not cool,” he replied once more.
“So you had your uniform specially altered?”
“No,” he said raising his leg to show me, “I’m wearing last year’s shorts. It wasn’t as tight then, but it’s gotten tighter this year.”
I was surprised that he was capable of holding such a long conversation. I thought that he would just make his usual “tsk” sound when I ask the first question, and then walk away.
“How come you are answering all my questions? Why aren’t you making the ‘tsk’ sound and walking away impatiently?” I wondered aloud.
Upon hearing that, he made a “tsk” sound and walked away.
I wonder what important lesson was gleaned from this particular encounter? Never ask questions you don’t want the answer to? Or perhaps don’t be obliviously observant? As in asking the subject you’ve been studying, why they’ve done, or haven’t done a particular thing. Since you never know if that’ll embarrass them.
Who knows, only Kevin Tsai holds the answers. But share your thoughts with me if you’d like!
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