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The Tension between

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Sometimes Kevin wondered how he ever ended up as an NYPD detective. Night shifts, endless reports, constant risk and other aspects of police work were clearly not the limit of one's dreams. In fact, ever since kindergarten he had dreamed of becoming a professor, like his uncle Theodore. Kevin had always loved books, tweed jackets and Greek literature (he later realized that this was quite an obvious sign).

All has changed during his last year of high school, when this giant guy Dirk transferred to his school. Dirk made making Kevin's life unbearable his life purpose, for some reason. Kevin couldn't say he was an outcast at school. Fairly, he was a nerd and top of his class, wore glasses and spent too much time in the library, but he was also on the swim team, which spared him the unwanted attention of the school bullies.

Dirk knew that Kevin’s mates from the swim team at school might stand up for Kevin, so he started stalking him after school. At first he just followed Kevin home and shouted curses in his direction, then the poking and prodding from behind began. One day before his yearly exams, Kevin stayed in the library until closing time. Tired but pleased with himself, he walked home without noticing his personal devil stalking him. The sun had already set and Kevin was only a couple of blocks from his house.

“Hey Cozner! How's it going?”

Kevin flinched in surprise and dropped his English Literature final essay folder onto the sidewalk. He frantically began to pick up the scattered sheets from the ground. The street was empty and Kevin's hands were shaking with fear; Dirk had never reached him this late before. There were usually random passersby around who kept the bully from going too far. Shivering didn't help him move his hands any faster at all.

Suddenly Kevin felt a hard kick on his side and fell on the ground right on his hand. A sharp pain pierced his arm and ribs.

“A little birdy told me you didn't ask anyone to the prom, Cozner. I'm sure no girl would want to go with you, asshole!“

Another kick caught him off guard right in the stomach and Kevin shrank into a lump. The stars started dancing in front of his eyes.

"Dirk, stop it,” he whispered.

“Or what, Cozner? Are you going to call your Mommy, or are you going to snitch to the principal like you did last time?”

Another kick to the ribs. Kevin began to gasp, panic gripped his body, his limbs refused to move.

“It wasn't me, Dirk.”

A huge sweaty palm grabbed Kevin's hair and forced him to raise his head. Dirk stared at him with blind rage in his small black eyes. Kevin frantically looked around the street, but there was no one around except the lone figure of a man in the distance, but he certainly wouldn't hear him if Kevin decided to call for help.

“I know you're a snitch, Cozner!" Dirk shouted and droplets of saliva got on Kevin's face.
“But I also know something else about you.”

Kevin's heart clenched and even the pain in his ribs and arm receded into the background. He only had one secret, and he knew full well that if anyone found out about it, Kevin was a goner.

“Maybe the reason you didn't ask anyone to prom, is not because you're a bespectacled nerd, but because you're a faggot. Did you really think I wouldn't notice the way you looked at Richards at the Spring Fling? You're a dirty faggot, Cozner! You know what happens to fags in my neighborhood?”

A huge fist pressed into Kevin's cheekbone. Dirk's other hand continued to hold his hair. Kevin tried to intercept the next punch, but did so with his injured hand, and not only did another blow hit his cheek, but his hand exploded with another flash of pain.

Dirk swung for another punch and Kevin realized he was beginning to lose consciousness.

“You're dead, Cozner! You filthy pervert, I'll kill you and no one will miss y…”

And suddenly there was a loud whistle from behind and an unfamiliar man grabbed Dirk's arm and shoved it behind the guy’s back.

“NYPD! You assaulted a man boy and threatened him with death, I don't think this is going to end well for you!”

Kevin looked up with his swollen eyes and saw a sight he knew he would remember for the rest of his life. The policeman was really just an ordinary man with a small tummy and short dark hair, but from below Kevin could see him in the light of the streetlights as if in a glowing halo.

A policeman restrained Dirk and led him to a patrol car on the side of the road, where another policeman picked him up.

“Take him to the precinct, Smith. I'll stay and see how the kid's doing and call an ambulance if needed.”

The policeman walked over to a shrunken Kevin and put his hand on his back.

“Hey, kid, look at me. Do you need help?”

Panic began to recede and Kevin looked up. The policeman examined his face and gently lifted his beginning to swell wrist.

“Nothing fatal, son. A couple of scratches and a twisted wrist.”

“My ribs hurt,” Kevin whispered.
“It's no good. I'll call an ambulance and we'll take you to the hospital.”

The policeman briefly instructed someone into the walkie-talkie and sat down next to Kevin again.

“These bullies know no bounds. I had guys like that in school myself, kid.”

“You... you're not taking me to the police for... Well... You heard what he called me.”

The policeman sighed wearily and helped Kevin up. Kevin was pleasantly surprised to find that his ribs no longer hurt as much as it seemed at first. He stared down at the scattered sheets of his essay, not daring to look up at the man.

“Oh boy, if that's true, you're going to have a hard time. But, of course, I'm not going to do anything to you, and I'm not taking you to the station. My daughter's been living with her college roomate for five years and I'm not a fool, son. Just learn how to take a punch and don't be afraid to fight back. Sure, life is complicated and there are a lot of people who will want to hurt you, but don't be afraid to stand up for yourself.”

That very minute, Kevin realized that all the motivation letters he had sent to the Literature departments would no longer be needed.

That night he had spent in the hospital (no broken ribs, thank God) he realized that he would never let anything like that happen to him again. Not to him, not to anyone else. That night he also decided that he would never be ashamed of who he was.