April and Michael sat next to each other in Art Appreciation, an elective college prep course. A life-size cardboard cutout of Michelangelo’s David stood at the head of the class, causing quite a stir. Those who remembered the shirtless Michael standing victorious over an unconscious Ronnie Conklin couldn’t help but notice a mirror image in the upper torso. Girls in the class traded notes, wondering if Michael was just as identical from the waste down, unbuckled, jeans to the ground. One scribbled a thumb up and a rare thumb down; she explained: he was silent and stone-faced as the ancient figure—quite boring really—only someone at which to enjoy a prolonged, delicious, imaginative stare. For once, the girls were actively listening to the lecture and squirmed hot in their seats. The teacher swept smooth hands over the abdominal muscles of David as she spoke.
“Art critics have pointed an accusative finger at the tiniest mathematical miscalculations made by Michelangelo and how each alleged mistake rendered the famous sculpture of David somewhat less than anatomically perfect when scrutinized up close, nose to marble. However . . . could it be that the slightly larger right hand might be meant to symbolize strength and the exodeviation of the left eye might be staring up at Goliath a split second before the precision kill? Standing over sixteen feet tall and mounted even higher upon a pedestal, maybe Michelangelo (who was obsessed with perfection) never intended for the sculpture to be examined so intimately by the public on a toe-to-toe or face-to-face level but from below the knees, looking up. You might say that one has to go down on him.” Giggles throughout the class. “Now you won’t forget that test question (hint, hint), will you?”
The same was true of Michael. His flaws weren’t noticeable from a distance. Just don’t get too close.
(An excerpt from, “Punctiliar Moment,” the latest short story by Andrew Dabar)