Chosen by Randall Brown

Although he could not cast far, he could place the fly wherever he wanted. And tennis shots. And baseballs. His grandfather taught him such a thing, placing mousetraps for him to cast at, coins to aim for on the court, orange cones on the baseball diamond. The games of kids who imagined crowds and championships. His grandfather bought him the machines whose blades like fans caught the balls and slung them toward him. He cast the fly over a pond on his grandfather's sprawling estate. He concentrated all his attention on these things -- the balls and the flies -- and there is something to be said for such vast loneliness, something he could carry with him later, so that every smile from a cashier, every brush against someone's self, the tiniest connection might become wondrous. He would be able to show off his skills in company softball games, tennis vacations, to fly fishing guides -- and he would remain that kid, trying to change his fate by proving himself worthy of the gods' attention. Whenever someone would say "marvel," he would love them the way he loved the imagined fans, the world awash in the color of fireworks and banners. Oh, such visions he had, such a future for such a kid, this precise boy who did not know that the love he imagined for people could be too much and drive them away. For he was indeed a destined one -- the boy with perfect placement who would not, for any length of time, find a place in anyone's heart. But he did not know these things yet. And he continued his performances for the people who did not yet exist, for the gods and goddesses whose attention he desired, for a girl, the gray-eyed one, whom he always placed in the front row.


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