Summer Run-Ins

Sunday afternoon and the commons is overflowing with softball players. I’m walking home from work basking in the almost-summer sun and remembering why I love this city with every helmet-clad rider that whips by in their support for Bike Week. I pause for a moment watching a game and think that the pitcher looks a lot like my ex, it’s too far away to tell for sure but definitely not. He doesn’t pitch. I smile and keep walking until a particular green Corolla–orange car freshener proudly hanging from the rear-view–stops me in my tracks . No. I’m in slow-motion, turning, yes it must be him. I walk closer and it seems obvious now: Tattoo around the wrist on his throwing arm, tattoo on his leg, and yep, that is definitely my brother’s high school grad t-shirt that is clinging to his chest with sweat. I should probably keep walking, but the hot sun and the scent of grass make me brave and a little reckless. Leaning against the bleachers in a poor excuse for casual nonchalance I stare at him from behind my over sized shades. It’s strange how you can think you’re completely over somebody, not at all attracted to them anymore, and then see them outside their usual element and be drawn back in again. He notices me out of the corner of his eye and I wave. I must make him nervous because he stops pitching quite as well, throwing a couple of balls and then allowing his batter to get a massive hit off of him. It pops up impossibly high into right field and I follow it with my eyes. His out-fielder saves his ass with a quick and almost careless out and they all trot in. I start to get a little antsy as he approaches, staring at my feet and tightening my grip on my purse strings. He mouths something at me and I pull out my earphones and cock my head.

“Sorry what was that?”

“I said, what are you doing here?” He smiles that smile I used to love and his rogue dimple makes a quick appearance and then disappears.

“Oh. I thought I’d watch for a bit if that’s ok with you…”

“Yeah! I mean, yeah. I’m pitching. How do you like that? Never done it before. They needed someone to fill in…so…”

I watch him ramble on, hands shoved in pockets, head to the side, bouncing on the balls of his feet. I’m about to say something I might regret; I can feel it tingling on the tip of my tongue. But, he is called for the batting line up and I am saved from myself.

“Hey!” He calls as he jogs away, “we should get ice cream after.”

Nodding I climb onto the bleachers, roll my jean legs up to my knees, and lean back on my wrists. Face to the sky. This summer was made for mistakes. Mistakes, regrets, and memories. The summer is just beginning and I already know how it is going to end, but, I am ok with that. I’m ok with it, now.

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6 thoughts on “Summer Run-Ins”

  1. Part of me dislikes being so close to you now, as I feel your writing in a different way. Before I was getting to know you through it, learning about you. And now, while it’s still beautiful, I feel it viscerally. Through my throat first, before even my eyes. I approach it from a different place.

    The last line is great. Excellent comma.

  2. Well, I’m in quite a different position than you. For my distant vantage point, as a reader, all I can do is appreciate and respect her as an author.

    If I know too much backstory, then I’m a friend and can genuinely express sympathy or empathy. But sometimes I like just being a reader.

  3. ohmigosh this left me dying to know what happens. and i know EXACTLY what you mean about thinking you’re completely over someone and then randomly you see them out of their element and in their new life and then you remember all over again what you loved the most. ugh.

  4. I think the thing that makes us stop and get nervous is that whole ‘being out of their element’. It’s the one time everything is free, no decisions to be made, no facing each other after a breakup, no tiptoing around each other thinking about what the future holds and certainly no being together stress. It’s simply two people out of their element. That’s when reality hits and once you overcome that, that’s when you truly know it’s over. Because that’s what you feel in all it’s simplicity.

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