When Carlisle gave up Little League just a few months shy of his 12th birthday, not one of his teammates could’ve guessed that he’d hang on to his baseball pants. He wouldn’t wear them again, but he could.
He used to stop by the swanky coffee spot on his way to junior high, it was one of his growth stunting outlets. He relished the genteel twenty-somethings that preferred their hot beverages with the swirly stylings of baristas. It wasn’t their drinks that he fancied; despite frequenting the coffee shop he hadn’t acquired the taste for it. That bitter taste of adulthood. No, not the drinks. Their getups got him. It was a world unfamiliar to someone his age, a daily runway. They were always dressed to the nines, tens even, almost in competition with their sumptuous cohorts. Lanky, slim, well dressed. All of these characteristics equated to a certain level of affluence, a covetable level. Maybe they were just that much older, he used to think. Then again, he wasn’t at Dunkin’ Donuts.
Carlisle incessantly attempted to live vicariously through these espresso sipping socialites. Albeit the jumping-off point, his emulation was not limited to highly caffeinated drinks. Stealing hand-me-downs that weren’t yet hand-me-downs from his older brother, and sisters, he assembled his best renditions of their attire. Choking down bitter drinks in the window seat of the coffee shop, he pretended that he’d assimilated somewhat into their world. He figured the easiest way to do so was to look like them.
To do this, he definitely needed to remain slim. He didn’t really know it yet, but tapered and slim-fit would be the words that defined his obsession. At that point, he merely saw the people wearing the clothes, not the clothes separately. Those people were skinny. To remain skinny, he thought that he should maintain himself as he was. He considered himself tall enough, and vowed to no longer grow. That’s partly where the pseudo coffee addiction came into the picture. He’d researched various alleged growth-stunting activities, and took them on as hobbies. On the whims of his own volition, he took on a self deteriorating regiment.
When he was old enough to, he got a job in order to buy clothes of his own. He made sure that it was the type of job that he wouldn’t be seen doing by his canonized kith.
At the coffee spot, he asked for drinks with o’s at the end and burnt his tongue with every sip, singeing away his adolescence.