The Fist-Bump

by Esther Suson

Being a super-senior in my university, but fully in casual [clothes; seniors and super-seniors are usually in corporate] because it was just enrollment, I was fully enjoying, this morning, the benefits of no one knowing for sure just what year I was.

Anyway, I was walking behind this slender young man who walked like he was the only one in the halls, and faced with such an imposing personage, the inevitable happened: he never had to walk around anyone. Even the sleeves of his t-shirt, half-hitched at the shoulders, spoke casual defiance [of the dress code]. His cap, worn backwards, did nothing to dispel the projection.

One might think he was a real jerk, maybe, one of those types who ignores anyone who could ‘ruin his image’. I must have smirked a little, watching him. Life will teach him, I thought.

You all know the kind: running to fat, often scruffy-looking and unshaved, obviously with a lack of widely accepted social skills…those kids a little too loud, too obvious, clumsy in their movements, almost pathetic in their bids for recognition.

One such of those stepped in front of my bigshot and waved at him, as if afraid he’d be overlooked or ignored. It’d probably happened many times before. I’ve seen varied responses to such actions: awkward smiles, half-nods, a light “hi”, and the clumsy kid can retire to whatever hole he’d crawled out of, happy he’d been seen.

Without breaking rhythm, my bigshot extended a closed fist, and the kid, surprised, lowered his waving hand for a fist-bump. He then walked away, this absolutely surprised and delighted smile on his face.

Well done, bigshot, I thought. You not only acknowledged him in a way that diffused his awkwardness, you made him look good.

But then, maybe he wasn’t a bigshot at all, I thought. Maybe he was just a cocky kid.

As if on cue, a whole line of students on the Ledge hailed him. One girl even said, “Hey, awesome” like she was in a badly-written play. The bigshot did break rhythm then – he stood still for a moment before going back and saying hi. And they smiled at him like he was some kind of superstar.

In the rushing halls of people he took the time for an affirming gesture to one awkward kid, but nearly passed over a ledge of ‘adoring fans’. I don’t know. Maybe he was in a hurry or something. But I like to think I saw the man behind the superstar in that one quiet fist-bump.



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