Jesse peeled the glove off his left hand. His skin cracked on his fingers and two bled. It was painful.
He opened his locker and took out his cream. He twisted off the lid, but saw the door to his left open. Benny. Why’d it have to be him? thought Jesse.
“Hey, Jess, whatcha got there?” said Benny. He craned his neck to get a better look.
“Nothing much. Hand just got banged up a bit on that last play. He slid right into my hand and it hit the base.” It was a lie. Go away, Benny. I don’t want you to see this.
“Let me look,” he said.
Jesse jerked his hand out of Benny’s line of sight. “No, it’s all right.”
“Ya think I’m gonna do something to you?” said Benny as he raised his eyebrow.
Yes, I do think that. You’re the biggest pain in the ass on this team. “No, it’s just no big deal.”
Benny grabbed Jesse’s shoulder and turned him around. Jesse looked down at the floor. He didn’t want to look Benny in the eye.
“Oh, what’s this?” He looked at Jesse’s hand and nodded. “I see, I see.”
“What? What do you see?” snapped Jesse. He pulled his hand back and reached for his glove.
“Psoriasis, isn’t it?”
“Huh? How do you know?” His eyes met Benny’s. He didn’t see scorn or ridicule, but sympathy.
“I got it, too,” he said. “Look.” He pointed at his head. “Red and flakey all over. It’s a bitch to get rid of. Annoys the hell out of me.”
Jesse stared. I can’t believe it. All this time, I’ve been trying to hide it, and the team’s biggest bully has it, too.
“Jess, you’re not alone,” Benny said and smiled. “Now get your ass out of here before I decide to do something.”
Jesse smiled. I guess I’m not alone. “Thanks, Benny.”