THE COLD INSIDE
By AL BRUNO III
Tuesday November 8, 1994
Of all the days of the week, Tristam hated Tuesdays the most. He stood alone at the end of his street waiting for the bus, shivering and stomping his feet. The problem with Tuesdays was that you were stuck. With Monday you had the momentum from the weekend to keep you going. Wednesday was halfway through the week and that made the day seem shorter than it really was. As for Thursday, Thursday was all right because you were one day away from the weekend and that tended to make things less of a drag. As for Friday, well, the saying ‘Thank God It’s Friday’ was thought up for a reason.
Tristam peered down the street, hoping for a glimpse of a familiar yellow shape. No such luck. Blessed Heart used a private busing company and it seemed as though they were never early, except for the days when he was running late of course. He yawned and tried to think about something other than the temperature, naturally his thoughts turned to his encounter with Ariel. Her legs, her breasts, her eyes.
Tristam started to feel warmer and he was more convinced than ever that what was happening to him was more than just vivid dreams. Ariel had been so real that when he had woken he’d found a mess waiting for him.
What had they called it in Health Class? A nocturnal emission? That term had always made him laugh. It made it a wet dream sound like a military operation. It sounded like something his father- that king of empty metaphors and broken promises- would say.
The memory of Ariel had lingered in his mind all through his morning rituals. He’d been so out of it he’d forgotten to feed the bird and change its water- something that would get him royally reamed out later. It was worse than the way he’d felt the day after Monique had let him get to third base, the first time he’d been to any bases at all. That day he hadn’t gotten a damn thing done.
A fresh blast of icy air returned him to the reality of the bus stop. Great. He thought, Now I’m freezing and I’ve got a hard on.
A pair of public school buses rolled past him, they were just starting their routes. Blessed Heart’s classes began an hour before the local High School and ended about an hour later. Mom felt this was a good thing, but Tristam sometimes thought it was more of a case of ‘If I can’t sleep late why should you?’
He wondered if Ariel was sleeping late now, he wondered if she was alone in her bed.