Junior remembers that when he was twelve, he fell in love with another popular girl, an Indian girl named Dawn who mostly only spoke to him to make fun of him. From then on, he knew that he would always be “one of those guys who always fell in love with the unreachable, ungettable, and uninterested.”
Junior’s description of his love life could apply just as well to his other aspirations. He’s a dreamer who wants things and people that seem unattainable. His hopes don’t have to be realistic—he’ll care deeply about them no matter what.
One night during a sleepover with Rowdy, Junior confessed his feelings for Dawn. After being silent for a moment, Rowdy declared that Dawn didn’t give a shit about him, which made Junior cry.
In contrast, Rowdy puts a lot of effort into not wanting what he can’t have, and his blunt dismissal of Junior’s confession is another example of the contrast between hope and “bone-crushing reality.”
Junior hates the way he has always cried so easily, whether he is happy or sad or angry: “It’s weak. It’s the opposite of warrior.” In this instance, Rowdy told Junior to stop crying repeatedly and then called him a wimp. However, Rowdy also promised he would never tell anyone Junior had cried “over a dumb girl,” just like he had never told any of Junior’s secrets.
Both Junior and Rowdy believe that in order to be men they can’t cry, and part of their coming of age will involve coming to terms with tears. Even though Rowdy doesn’t seem to support Junior’s confession, the fact that he keeps the secret of both the tears and the “dumb girl” is an important demonstration of trust and caring.