It Is What It Is.
The Great Game of Kickball
infield consists of the court’s circle, with the bases marked
respectively by the front bumper of
Mrs. Arenas’ Buick, what we think
of as ‘our sewer cover’, and an especially large tuft of weeds
from a crack in Miss Lynd’s sidewalk. Scotty runs straight out, up the
court. Stops fifty feet
away and shouts that he’s ready. Joey kicks
first. His brother rolls the ball to him—wrongly, with high
bouncies—and Joey rolls the ball back, smoothly, to show how he wants
it. This happens four more
times before Joey swings his leg and the
ball shoots sharply to the right, past Ricky and up onto his lawn.
reaches first base, sets his hand on the bumper and waves at his
brother, who does not wave back.
It’s my turn. I shout out, though
everyone also knows this about me, that I like short bouncies. Ricky
somehow delivers the ball perfectly, and I kick it and it line-drives
up over his head, skips high towards
the outfield. But Scotty
misjudges. It bounces off his chest, back toward Ricky who didn’t think
would happen and so hasn’t turned around. The ball is now back at
home plate, Ricky running after it.
When he reaches it Joey is on third
and I’m on second. There is nothing else happening, anywhere.
nowhere else to be. As I leave my base to kick again, I shout that we
have men on second
and third. I shout it again before Ricky rolls the
ball. I scan the field to confirm it. It’s now that the
with life, with possibility and belief. After I kick the ball and reach
third, sending both Joey
and the man on second home to score, this man
on second lingers, waits his turn behind me, on our
driveway, in a
small group that grows as the game proceeds. I’m not saying that I see
him, or know
him, or his face or his name; I simply mean to say that
he’s there, and we all know it, and are
encouraged by him. Scotty is
smiling, also aware of the growing group, who emit a certain warmth
that we can’t imagine living without. We’re really no different from
the moths that are now bunched
frantically around the streetlight,
which is on, suddenly, because the day has darkened enough to
and I can’t tell you how much time passes before I look at it again but
when I do I see it
again; newly strange and undiscovered.
Copyright 2006 Gonzalo
Gonzalo Ferreyra has written one (unpublished) novel (of which the
above piece in excerpted) and is hard at
work on a second. He's a great admirer of Vladimir Nabokov,
Roth, and John Cheever but tries his best not to mimic
them when he sits down to write. He lives in Castro
Valley, CA, with his wife and two daughters.