I heard Led Zeppelin coming out of Ryan's room, so I put down my Sudoku book (yeah, I've been hooked for about a month), walked down the hall, and knocked on his door.
"Come in," he said.
I opened, and entered his sanctuary: astronomy posters hung from his walls, and a stack of books (Les Miserables, The Count of Monte Cristo, Macbeth, Divine Comedy and a host of other books that your average AP English student with a 4.0 in the class reads*) sat on his desk. A pile of (clean? dirty?) clothes lay in a heap at the foot of his bed. He sat at his desk, looking at The Internets.
He turned around in his chair. "What's up?" He said.
"Oh, I just heard you listening to Zeppelin II, and I didn't want to miss a chance to share in something we both love, that I happened to introduce to you in the pre-Pod days."
"I . . . just wondered what you were doing." I said.
He got very excited. "Oh! I found this awesome Family Guy Website, and I was downloading audioclips from it, and putting them on my computer." He clicked a few times, and showed me the website.
"When I was your age, I did the same thing, with The Prisoner and Star Trek," I said, "on my Mac II."
He frowned. "Weren't you on Star Trek?"
"Yeah," I said, "but the sounds were from the original series."
He looked back at me.
"So it was geeky, but it wasn't totally lame," I said. Why did I feel like I our ages and roles were reversed?
"What's The Prisoner?" He said.
"A show that I love, that I don't think you're geeky enough to enjoy."
He clicked his mouse, and iTunes fell silent.
"Wil," he said, "you didn't think I'd like Firefly."
"Touche," I said with a smile. "Any time you want to watch The Prisoner, I am so there."
"Actually, any time you want to do anything, I am so there, because I don't want to be a stranger to you for the next five years, and I'll close the gap any way I can."
"Okay," he said. "Maybe after school some day next week."
"When my homework's done," he said. "I know, Wil."
He wasn't snotty. He wasn't rude. He wasn't impatient or unpleasant. He just . . . was. I saw a lot of myself in him.
"I need to work my a--" he began, "I need to work very hard this semester."
I nodded my head. "I'm glad you know that, Ryan."
He turned back around to his computer. I stood in his doorway and looked at him for a minute.
"He may not have my DNA, but I've given him some of the things that matter in life," I thought.
He didn't turn around. "Hmm?"
"I love you."
"I love you too, Wil."
"Ramble On, And now's the time, the time is now, to sing my song.
I'm goin' 'round the world, I got to find my girl, on my way.
I've been this way ten years to the day, Ramble On,
Gotta find the queen of all my dreams."
*Yes, I'm proud as hell. Sue me.