Vignettes Regarding the Artwork of Brendon Kotes
The ski trip—which logically should have been called a snowboarding trip—flew past in a flurry of snowdrifts and Valentine decorations. Brendon didn’t even think Casey noticed Robbie missing that Friday in February, too busy finding temporarily abandoned construction zones to park at during dark hours. For the first time in his life looking to stand still rather than go roaring off down the road—at least in a literal sense, because figuratively, Casey was always ready to go.
They spent those first few months in a mess of stained clothing and sweaty skin. The scent of that backseat turning from a mix of cheap strawberry air freshener, motor oil and cigarettes, to musk and pheromones and french onion dip and tacos because they’d get hungry between and find themselves at the grocery store at eleven or a drive-through for fourth meal.
The pictures under Brendon’s mattress grew lonely. The furrows on Casey’s brow smoothed out.
They did everything and then did everything again in different positions. They drank too much on race sidelines and dodged heavy drugs by virtue of being too caught up in one another to care about the baggies being passed hand-to-hand.
Brendon’s sketchbook—a deep blue with gold filigree—filled front to back with Casey. Closeups of every inch of a body he’d become intimately acquainted with. He dreamed in curves and colors. Woke to the same ones.
They earned names that year, derogatory ones that chased them down, but could never bring them to heel. Casey threw some of his own back and urged Brendon out of his shell to shout his own derogatories. Words his Mom would have shoved soap in his mouth for had she heard.
Then again, she would have gasped and gone on about the Holy Spirit too had she known what they did during midnight hours in that backseat. How little space remained between them. How deeply they moved and how sweetly they kissed.
The end of that school year came in a rush. The car roaring at excess speeds, ignoring all exits, all flags, all warnings that the bridge was out ahead. The bridge was out.
Next Chapter Coming May 26th!