This is a quote from my review at Fiction Vixen when I first read this short story way back in 2013.
This is the best short story I think I’ve ever read. Ever. I absolutely adored every single thing about it. If I hadn’t already been a fan of this author before, I would be after reading this gem. I will most definitely be recommending Big Boy to as many people as I can.
You can read the full review here.
I still think Big Boy is one of my favorite short romances. This is a story about two people who meet up on a dating site and then agree to meet in person. They begin an affair where they see each other once a month, never revealing their true identities, pretending to be other people. They dress up from different time periods, make up backgrounds, and begin a relationship based on role-playing and fantasy.
He’s standing at the railing next to me. “Take off your coat,” I tell him.
I take it off for him. He stands still, watching me, as I unbutton it and push it over his shoulders and down his arms. I unwind his scarf. Unbutton the shirt he has on underneath, too, and keep going until he’s standing in front of me bare to the waist in the brisk October air, covered in goose bumps. Quizzical but patient.
I’m not sure what I’m up to. I guess I just want to see him once mroe time without his costume.
My hands slide over his shoulders, my thumbs balancing on the ridge of his collarbones. His biceps, the inside of his elbows, his golden forearms, his hands. I still don’t know why he has rough man’s hands, or so much lean muscle.
Maybe he’s a gardner. A runner. Maybe he teaches Pilates.
I’m never going to know, and the thought is a sort of final punctuation mark on our relationship.
I measure his waist with my hands, smooth my fingers over his stomach and chest. I’m not trying to turn him on. I guess I’m trying to memorize him.
He stands there and lets me. When I’m finished, I kiss him, and I think at first he won’t kiss me back, but he does, hard. He holds my head with his fingertips, as if I’m delicate, but he kisses me with a hunger I’d forgottten somehow.
Something in there. Something between us. But it’s not enough. I draw back, descend the steps and drive away.
I don’t need him anymore.
I see him on the highway. He drives a Smart Car, a hybrid SUV, a semi with a load of logs. His name is Johnny, Ray, Clint. He’s the Man with No Name. He’s nobody. He’s every single man I walk past, every corner I walk around, every thought in my head.
Big Boy by Ruthie Knox
Originally published 4/2/2013