TITLE: BOWLING UPSTAIRS
GENRE: YA Contemporary
There are reasons why 15-year-old boys find great pleasure in long, steamy showers. I sat in boxer shorts on a sandpaper-rough towel spread flat over the ivory-colored tiles of the motel bathroom floor. With the door locked and the shower spraying a vacant tub, I treasured my handful of minutes without anyone lurking behind my shoulder.
On this particular Saturday morning, I had at least three good reasons for hiding out in the bathroom. Two of them involved my father and younger brother, Cole, who were lounging on the queen beds and monopolizing the room with a blaring movie about a mission to intercept an asteroid before it destroyed the Earth. Manufactured melodrama failed to interest me. If I wanted a pitiful story of suffering and tension, then I could flip through the past five months of pages in my sketchbook, which brings up the third reason. My sketchbook.
A cloud of steam obscured the upper half of the bathroom, and under it I struggled with another sketch. After four weeks of growth, my sideburns were finally thick enough to show up in the full-length mirror on the bathroom wall. My self-portrait was graphite, which was fortunate because I could draw the sideburns as wild and dark instead of blonde when the rest of my hair was brown. My artistic limitations portrayed me as a caricature of a frontman for an alternative British rock band, all cheekbones and crooked teeth and, of course, dashing, prominent sideburns.