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Marshall Pitchrock, Folsom Bulldog
by Sean Hetherington

I look back because I recognize this guy's walk. Still walking all tight and pensive, like he's holding an uncooked egg in his crotch and if he walks too carelessly, it'll break. But this guy is fatter than the guy with that walk.

It's Marshall. Marshall Pitchrock is in my West Hollywood Locker Room. And Marshall must have gained 80 pounds. No joke. He is a white Al Roker.

I debate my next move. I want to throw up. I want to exercise near him. But I really want to throw up. I feel the rumbling in my belly minutes later as he's grunting next to me trying to do a pull-up. Violently, as if out of an '80s Pat Benatar video, I jerk my head toward him and say, "Marshall. Pitchrock. Hi. Sean. Hetherington. I played your Dad in Pippin." He stares at me for a second and said, "Jesus Fucking Christ. We reversed."

"HOW did you do it?" Shocked, he's walking around me inspecting me like I'm his new apartment and he wants to make sure there aren't any paint cracks or leaks. "I'm going on a cruise! What do I do? How'd you do it? I need to lose 60 pounds before Christmas." My heart aches for him because it's the day after Thanksgiving.

In this moment I forget about all of those scales. They could have said I was 300 pounds on one leg and one giant purple zit on the other. This is the closest I've ever been to validated in my whole life, more than graduating from college or going to Wrestlemania 21, and I want to savor every one of his failed jumping jacks. I don't think it would ever get any better. That is until he says, "If you had been this hot in high school -- I would have come out sooner."

WHAT? Did Marshall, the most perfect man alive just tell me that he's gay, too? The next few minutes are hazy, something about guys in LA being so flaky, why does pilot season come right after holiday-eating season, the white socks sold on Highland by immigrants are poor quality, and his metabolism has made him disgusting. Then somewhere in there I hear:

"We should get together sometime for a drink...if you want."

Marshall is still so gorgeous to me, even in his aged chubbiness. It's so perfect. Not the "reversal" as he calls it, but the moment of being in a gym with 20 combined years of perspective for both of us. That gym transforms instantly into a private jazz club where Etta James warbles "At Last" and we sip Rosenblum Zinfandel and get lost in the soft glow of the table candles.

As I open my mouth to say yes and plan my life with him, he cuts me off. "I know I don't look good right now. But I'm going to Mexico next month and this weight will be gone then...I mean, it's just hard now. God, you look so great. I'm so ugly. I wish I could still look like that, like you do now. I'm so FUCKING FAT."

I stare, my mouth slightly agape. Marshall's famous smile is replaced by negative body image. The jazz club fades into the recesses of my mind, and Marshall melts into sadness before my eyes. He is no longer hot. He's not even cute. He's just like the rest of them in high school. He is what I am becoming on the scales. It finally makes sense, ten years later. High school is reaching past its expiration date to destroy my life, and his, too.

He seems too embarrassed to say it out loud as he leans in and whispers, "I just wish I was still the way I was in high school."

My hands are numb now. No longer shaking, no longer sweating. I kiss his cheek and say, "I hope we're never like we were in high school." And then I walk away from FHS class of 1996, home of The Bulldogs.

All of that soy milk is caught in the engine of my nerves and I go to the bathroom and throw up. And just FYI, that puts me at my goal weight. 169.9 lbs.!

I still have unreasonable crushes on straight guys. I still have my fat days. I still feel like a nelly homo once a day, usually at spinning class. But when I do, I just close my eyes and move it all upward out of my body into a ball and SeanToss it to Marshall Pitchrock.


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