The man who was the teenage boy looks in the mirror. He remembers those words that were said to him back in the seventh grade. He hears them again.
Here he comes.
It's fat boy.
Look at his clothes.
As he silently says each phrase, he thinks of himself now...
He is not fat; He was never so big that he'd have been a candidate for the Biggest Loser. He was a husky size till about the 12th grade. Now he is an average size man whose work has him at a desk. This had caused him to gain a little. But he is content. He is healthy. He is happy with his job.
His clothes. That makes him laugh. Nowadays it is jeans and polo shirts. Back then it was the mid-seventies. Need he say more?
He stops himself at the next phrase. Again, he looks in the mirror. Ugly? No. Granted, he is no Brad Pitt, but there is something... Then it hits him. It is the man's face in the mirror, yet it is the teenage boy's eyes looking back at him now.
He thinks he has found why he feels like he does at times. How when friends ask him to join them, he makes excuses why he can't when he desperately wants to. It is what he did in the seventh grade. It was survival. It is how he is and probably how he will be for the rest of his life. It is why he always worries about saying too much, and ends up not saying enough.
He knows the clown still likes to make appearances. He always will, but the man never knows exactly when. His friends are always surprised and a little shocked, as is he. Many times he is misunderstood when he is playing the clown.
He wonders about the cheerleader. And he wonders why.
He thinks of a song he heard today in traffic. Billy Joel's "And So It Goes". The lyrics could be his. So he turns away from the mirror and gets his ipod. He sits down, puts his ear buds in, and presses play. As he listens, he wonders if the teenage boy will ever leave and let the clown be. And a tear rolls down his face. He wipes it away, remembering how good his life is right now compared to others. Along with other events in his life, he knows that time long ago shaped the man he is. So he has quirks; he doesn't think he'd change a thing. He smiles as he leans back and floats away with the music.