She takes his phone and snaps a practiced selfie for her contact info: "Bradley Martin. You have any questions at school, you call me. Okay?" He can tell she means it. She means what she says. Does she have a boyfriend? Yes, more than likely. Does that rule her out? Not really, but she's not offering. A dumber, a shittier, a more obsolete boy would call it the Friend Zone, but he wasn't raised here in the tortured concrete world. He knows the score.
Dylan: "Thanks for letting me know you moved, Mom."
Norma: "Pretty sure the last time we spoke, you told me to Drop dead, bitch. Sorry I took it personally."
Dylan: "So your own son doesn't get to know? What if I was hurt? What if I was in the hospital? What if I needed you?"
Norma: "Are you those things?"
Dylan: "No, I just need money."
Norma: "Later. Click."
He looks at Bradley all through class: This girl who navigates the concrete world like she was born to it, like it doesn't hurt her at all. Norma wouldn't like her. Would like even less Miss Watson, with her fire-bright hair and lipstick talking about poetry and time.
Miss Watson: "I want you to just think about poetry tonight. What does it mean? Why is it timeless? Why is there power in words arranged in cadences and structures?"
Rules for the concrete world, words. The way they tell you what to do, how to be, what a man is and a woman. Poetry takes this and twists it, bends it, breaks it and puts it back in the shape of something else. Brings it into the house on the hill, and when it comes back out again it sounds like a dream. There's a fluorescent light up there in the attic; you never know when it's going to flicker into light and show you what you've made. What you can show the world of torture, what you made in the world beneath those waves. The fire you stole.
MISS WATSON ADVISES
Miss Watson: "Norman, your test scores are amazing. But your grades..."
Norman: "We move a lot. Five different high schools. My mom's impulsive, she gets these ideas and we move and everything is new. Which is good."
Miss Watson: "Wings are good. But so are roots. I want you to think about joining something."
Norman: "Not sports. Not the world of men."
Miss Watson: "What about a sport that isn't? What about track? Ever run?"