Well, maybe he *is* weird, but some critics find Ben to be "quirky" and view him as a "creative young man who persists despite confusion and shyness in expressing his affection for Sal."
Ben's story is this: Sal and Ben become friends. They "seem to be drawn together although Sal doesn't quite know what to make of the attraction. Throughout the story Sal and Ben become closer and Sal believes Ben has tried to kiss her once. Sal discovers the secret about Ben's mother, which she understands because of similarities between her mother and Ben's. Their bond grows as the two experience their first kiss."