I made my first jump in the seventh grade. I never knew it was possible before that. It was completely unintentional and I was hardly prepared for it. Scared the shit out of me. Left Roger Bacon a little dazed too. Poor guy.
We were in the locker room at Gulfview Middle School in Naples, Florida. I was twelve. Roger, an eighth-grader, was thirteen. He was the boy I wished I was: popular, good at sports, handsome, an A-student. He was also the most physically developed boy in the school. I couldn’t help but stare at his man-like physique in the showers. It didn’t mean anything. Or if it did, I was too naive to know. He was my hero. A demigod in my young mind.
One afternoon, after Coach Lenhardt had made me run extra laps for swearing, I came into the nearly deserted locker room to change. I heard a shower running, but from the vantage point of my locker I couldn’t see who it was. I stripped off my sweaty gym clothes, and was contemplating skipping the showers altogether, when Roger Bacon appeared at my side, naked and dripping.
Normally he didn’t speak to me, a lowly seventh-grader. But on that day, he decided to say hi. Probably because there was no one around to give him grief about it later. I returned his greeting, and was immediately at a loss for what to say next. I was embarrassed, as we were both naked. I wanted to be sure that I wasn’t looking where I wasn’t supposed to, so I looked him straight in the eye. A bold thing to do, given my usual shyness, but I didn’t have any other option.
“Extra laps, eh?” he said, toweling off without breaking eye contact.
“Yeah,” I said, also without averting my eyes from his. My mind was racing with the significance of having my first one-on-one conversation with my hero. My tongue, however, didn’t get the memo, and immediately fell limp again.
“Sucks,” he said. Strangely, he was still holding my gaze.
It seemed like minutes passed.
Suddenly, Roger’s knees buckled and I was sure he was going to fall to the floor. I thought maybe I should grab him or something.
And then it happened.
I was watching my own body crumple to the floor. Through Roger’s eyes. Impossible. But there I was, inside. I was Roger Bacon. I saw his thoughts. Somehow they were my thoughts. Did he see mine as well? I knew his older sister was waiting to give him a ride home. I knew it was his mother’s birthday and we—they—were going out to dinner.
I realized I was holding the towel and looked down at my—his—hands. They were so big. I felt their grip on the towel, the roughness of the terrycloth against my skin. The cold concrete of the floor under my feet. Stranger still I felt Roger. From the inside. I felt the strength of his muscular arms. The power in his legs. The arousal…
I panicked and suddenly felt lightheaded. This wasn’t right. I didn’t belong here. I wanted it to end. I wanted my own body back. I looked at it again, in a heap on the floor. And then, whoosh. I was lying there, back inside it. My thoughts were alone again, the physical sensations my own. Including a sore right shoulder onto which I—or my body—had fallen. Trembling with fear, I looked up at Roger.
He stood, blinking vacantly, rooted still to the same spot in which I had left him. “That was freaky,” he said after a moment. “I just kinda blacked out for a second.” He shook his head as if to reset it. Then he realized my predicament. “Hey, what are you doing down there? Are you OK?”
“I… uh… yeah,” I said with effort. “I think so.” I searched his face for any clue that he knew what had happened. That I’d been inside his head. But, no. I looked away again quickly, lest our eyes meet and trigger the strange phenomenon a second time.
Roger extended a hand and pulled me up to a sitting position on the bench. I shivered at the touch of his hand. The meaty hand I’d been inside of a moment earlier.
“You sure you’re alright?” He asked with genuine concern. “You don’t need to see the nurse or something?”
“No. Please. I mean…” I was still shaking, freaked as hell. “No.”
I avoided Roger Bacon for the rest of the school year, and never saw him again after it ended.