Slices of Life: The longings of … a beautiful boy

By CHRISTIAN GOLLAYAN/For The News-Gazette — He’s 6 feet tall barefoot, 6-feet-5 in his Jeffrey Campbell heels. He loves Lady Gaga and Andy Warhol and beautiful women who don’t care about what other people think.

He loves vodka. He takes it straight up, pursing his lips, keeping a composed face. It makes him feel as if he’s made of plastic; it’s reassuring. If he can keep a strong face after a shot, he can keep a strong face after anything.

His fingers are long and slender like a lady’s. His face is soft and angular. His eyes are almond-shaped with long lashes that flutter like butterflies. He loves bubble baths. When he shuts his mouth, his lips don’t fully close, giving him a permanent pout. He has skin like porcelain. Wrinkles are his enemies. He has trained his eyebrows not to move when he speaks. He likes having an expressionless face. He doesn’t want strangers to know him.

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This story was written by a University of Illinois journalism student in Professor Walt Harrington’s Literary Feature Writing class taught in collaboration with The News-Gazette. Funding for the class, which was taught at the newspaper’s headquarters in downtown Champaign, came from the Marajen Stevick Foundation. The story was part of an occasional series titled “Slices of Life” that ran in the newspaper’s Sunday Living section. All the stories in the series are also collected in the book “Slices of Life.”

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