Julie’s walk was very confident and full of energy. Every step she took towards the pool area in the cruise, made her noticeable to every single person on the boat. She was wearing a blue bikini with a large hat and sandals with quite a heel and she was pulling it off in the best way possible. All men had their eyes on her and all women wanted to be as confident as she was.
Following Julie, however, was her brother Kevin. It was an absolute contrast because Kevin wasn’t dressed at all for a swimming pool; he just looked like one of those people that go to awesome place but don’t do that much. Well, that precisely was Kevin because he didn’t even wanted to come at first but he had being pressured by his parents to accompany his sister. The trip was her gift for finishing high school with great marks and she had been joined by some friends in the cruise. So the suffering was double for Kevin.
Which was silly because he was older than him. He should have gotten over the whole high school thing but he actually hadn’t.. His experiences there had been so traumatic that he didn’t even liked to be around Julia when her friends were with her. He quietly went away, most likely to his room or he just wandered around the ship, which was large enough.
For the swimming pool, he was wearing these big, long, baggy trunks that looked two sizes larger than him, not flip flops but actual shoes and big white t-shirt. Besides, his face was covered in white, like a ghost. When they got to some free chairs by the pool, Julia removed her sunglasses and look at her brother, a bit disappointed. He was covering himself with his towel and looking at everyone a bit scared.
She told him to come near and helped him with the mask of sunscreen he had put on his face,. She made him look a little bit more normal. Julia told him she should enjoy the pool and the sun for once and that nothing was never as bad as he imagined it. “Everything is in your head”, she often told him.
Kevin always ignored that phrase because he thought it was a very silly thing to say. His fears, for him, were extremely real and they weren’t only in his head. He could hear and see people mocking him all around, always, and he wasn’t as strong as Julia to take it all and just don’t mind or to be able to fight it back. Kevin had always been very shy and had even been bullied in school, so it was normal that even as an adult he was still afraid. But the thing was he had never attempted to defeat his demons and that’s what worried Julia.
She took a last look at him and then removed sandals, glasses and a nice watch a friend had given her as a present for her most recent birthday. Then she walked to the other side of the pool, were several people her age greeted her. There were boys and girls and Kevin could recognize most of them from the first two days of the cruise. She had gone out almost every night to the disco they had there and he had been falling asleep really early as there were no TV sets in any of the rooms, for some reason.
Maybe the people that had built the cruise ship thought that it was enough to put all these fun things to do for people to be happy and not need a TV but Kevin certainly disagreed with that. He really felt miserable and wished the week was over faster.
Some girl passed in front of him and looked at him for a second. Her look was the one of someone who sees something gross by the road or something like that. Very affected by it, he decided to stand up, check for the room keys in his pocket and go back there. Julia wouldn’t mind and he certainly didn’t want to stay there. So he just left.
When he arrived in his room, he was sweating heavily because of the clothes he was wearing and decided to shower in order to refresh a bit. He left the clothes all over the floor and just entered the bathroom and tried not to think about anything as he felt the cold water running over his body. He didn’t use soap or anything like that, he just enjoyed the cool shower that seemed like sitting on the rain. It was one of the few things he liked about the cruise.
When he got closed the water, he remembered he had left the towel on the bed and the cleaning lady hadn’t come in yet. So he shook off some of the water and stepped out naked. For a moment, he didn’t realize it but he was looking at his own body naked. Then he remembered the bathroom door had a full body mirror behind it and he was surprised by it.
Kevin had always hated mirrors. He had never liked mirrors because they made him look at him and he had passed years trying not to do that. He had been called so many names because of his ears, his body, the way he was smarter than other in school… And besides all of that, he had always thought he was fat and ugly and just didn’t wanted to be made to look at himself.
But when he stepped out of the shower, he just froze there and saw his own body, after a long time. Somehow, it was different that he remembered it. He got nearer and, unconsciously, started examining his skin, his face, his chest, his arms, his penis, his legs and feet. Everything.
He took a long time watching his own body and he was fascinated because he realized he had never done that. Then, feeling like awakening from a strange dream, he opened the door and grabbed the trunks he had been wearing. He put them over his body in front of the mirror and realized how ridiculous it was to wear something so big on him. He was skinny but he certainly wasn’t an XL man.
Kevin dropped the trunks on the ground and just kept looking at himself. He finally shed a single tear and said, in very hushed voice, “If only someone…” But didn’t finish the phrase because he had no idea how to finish it. He thought about how he wanted to be like his sister, who was strong and didn’t care what people said about her. She was strong and he felt so weak. But he also realized he wanted to do something about it. The mirror had helped him see that.
So he grabbed some of the money his parents had given him, got dressed with the clothes he had before and went to one of the many stores on board. He didn’t like to try on clothes or to be around people that loved fashion but it was necessary for him to do it. So he approached a saleswoman and asked where he could find some trunks. She directed her to the right spot and even joined him. He was embarrassed to have her next to him but just took a deep breath and pretended she wasn’t there. He looked for a color he liked and then a size he thought would work and just bought it, without trying it on.
He went back to his room almost running, got naked in the bathroom and put on the new trunks. The difference was huge. On the mirror, he could even see his butt and a pair of legs that weren’t so bad. He just needed a bit more sun because he looked pale and sick. But the trunks worked great and he smiled at his own image when he saw himself on the mirror.
Some minutes later, he was sweating heavily again. But it wasn’t because of the sun but because of how nervous he was. He had decided to get out of his room in only his flip-flops and his new trunks. He had his towel on one hand and the room keys in the other and nothing else. He was shaking a bit but kept walking looking at his feet or very high in front of him. He did so slowly not to stumble against anyone.
He found an empty deck chair not so close to the poll and decided to sit there. He had put on some sunscreen before leaving the room so he just laid there, a bit nervous and tensioned but certain that would help. He fell asleep for a while until his sister came and woke him up. She was angry at him because he had left her things unattended but a friend had noticed so nothing had happened. She asked his brother what was he doing.
- ¿What does it look like?
And she just smiled. She kissed him on the cheek and told him to be careful with the sun. She was going to leave for the games area but she would look for him later. He told her he needed to get more tanned, so he would be there for a while. Amused, she left with her friends.
Kevin saw her walk away and realized he had taken a huge step out of his shell. Right then though, he saw two guys with ridiculously chiseled bodies but instead of feeling less, he laughed. And he just closed his eyes again and turn around, to do the back.