This one’s for you, Penny, Kim, Mary, Michelle and Arlene.
This week’s assignment was to write in the second person. I didn’t really enjoy this format and struggled a bit to understand what I was supposed to learn from this voice within a module on Significant Details. However, as the topic had to revolve around a ritual, routine, or holiday, I did enjoy going back in time to a very special time – Sebs football perfect season. Go Arrows!
Using the “you”, second person voice, describe a holiday, ritual, or routine in specific and significant detail. Let the details accumulate. Let them be funny, sad, and honest.
TITLE: A Different Point of View
The coin lands heads up. The captains amble back to the sidelines giving you enough time to reach into the front double pocket of your red and black sweatshirt. Tiny droplets of condensation from the ice melting inside the water bottle that sits there slide past your fingers. Taking a page from the teens’ playbook, you pull the bottle out and take a long swig of the vodka tonic. The vodka does its job to take an edge off for a few moments. It’s five games into the season and by now you know, a heads up coin means #34, your son, will be lined up, alone near the 10 yard line, awaiting the spiraling brown oblong leather ball to drop into his arms.
The kicker raises and drops his hand as he advances towards the teed up ball. It’s a clean kick with the ball soaring up into the clear, crisp air, swirling among a few stray red and yellow leaves that the slight breeze has stirred into play as well. As the ball continues its arc heading down field, your body begins its Saturday afternoon dance. You are one again with him. You may be standing shoulder to shoulder with the other moms, but your heart and soul is on the field. Every fiber of your muscles are tensed and at the ready, just like his. You feel your breath catch and hold. And hold. And hold. The ball is too high, the kick is too hard. The ball bounces into the end zone and out of bounds. He is safe. No action on this play. You exhale. Your shoulders drop just the half inch they were raised.
The offense trots onto the field, recently trimmed to short green blades ready for game day. Eleven players, 17 years old, each one of them man-sized before their time. A human line of hulk, black boulders accented with red. You have grown to love these hulks. You relinquished your job to protect him, to them, his teammates, his friends, his brothers. Behind the front solid line of brotherhood, stand two. You’re ready for another trip around the dance floor, but this time you have a partner. To your left stands the QB’s mom. Your left hand reaches down for her right. It’s her turn now. Her fingers and hand grip yours just a bit tighter sending the tension of her whole body out through her fingertips and across to you as the ball jumps softly into her son’s hands. The play is a well-rehearsed two step as he turns and lobs the ball out to #34.
And it’s time, again. You inhale. You hold. You squeeze her hand. He cradles the ball in the crook of his bent left arm, against his breast, his heart. Does he know how many times you held him in the same embrace? A swarm of navy and white heads toward him. More hulk, just in different colors, all sharing one objective – stop #34. The black boulders move in unison. Grunts rise up from the field. They too have a singular objective – protect #34. And they do. Each one zeroes in on navy and white. Each one grabs and halts their movement. Navy and white separate. There’s a hole. You see it. He sees it. The crowd sees it, with the ones in black and red, now screaming “Go. Go. Go.” And he does. He goes, with his feet and legs striding over the white paint on the ground beneath him until there is no more paint, just an extra wide expanse of green with a single white pole rising up out of the earth.
You’ve dropped her hand, to raise both of yours into the air. You’ve exhaled and inhaled a few times. Your body is limp and empty. Your heart is full. You turn toward four other black and red clothed moms. Your lips break into a grinning smile then come together to mouth an inaudible “thank you”. Their sons have done their job, your son has done his. They are a team. They are brothers. You are all family on this perfect fall day for high school football.
Post-Script, September 2020: Missing those glory days of my sons’ games – all of them. From Mite Hockey through Little League, into Varsity Football, Lacrosse, Soccer, and Baseball. A lot of time, money, stress, and joy went into those years. And, I wouldn’t trade a minute of them for anything in the world.
Then, just when those memories try to fade away, a post brings you back to five years ago…