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At the University of North Carolina, Ronny's made some friends, kept his secrets, survived dorm life, and protected his heart.
Until he can't. Ben is in some ways Ronny's opposite; he's big and solid where Ronny is small and slight. Ben's at UNC on a football scholarship. Confident, with that easy jock swagger, and an explosive temper always simmering. He has a steady stream of girlfriends. Ben's aware of the overwhelming effect he has on Ronny. It's like a sensation of power. So easy to tease Ronny, throw playful insults, but it all feels somehow.loaded.
Meanwhile Ronny's mother has moved to Vegas with her latest husband. And Ben's mother is fighting advanced cancer. A bubble forms around the two, as surprising to Ronny as it is to Ben. Within it their connection ignites physically and emotionally. But what will happen when the tensile strength of a bubble is tested? When the rest of life intervenes?
The Dove in the Belly is about the electric, dangerous, sometimes tender but always powerful attraction between two very different boys. But it's also about the full cycles of love and life and how they open in us the twinned capacities for grief and joy.