It Is What It Is.

The Great Game of Kickball

By Gonzalo Ferreyra

The 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
growing 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.
Joey 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 this
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.
There is 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
field fills 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
 merit it, 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 Ferreyra

Gonzalo Ferreyra has written one (unpublished) novel (of which the above piece in excerpted) and is hard at work on a second.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, Philip 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.

Home    Archive   Reviews   Links    Credits    Blog