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PedestrianParking.Issue02.OCT.2015.Single Sided .pdf


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The Baseball Field At Night

The lights came on, one by one, until the entire
field was illuminated. Those lights, they'd blind just
about anyone lacking the good sense to look away as
they flickered to life. I've never been accused of
having much sense.
Probably explains why the field is so blurry.
You could hear the lights buzzing overhead, and
the chirp of crickets all around, their sound muffling
their distance. Some were as close as a whisper, others
as far as a scream. You couldn't tell. There was a bit of
wind rustling the tall brush that surrounded the
diamond in the thick darkness that clung to the
edge of the field. You could hear that too.

I only came to clean. On hot days like this one,
cleaning the field at night was a small mercy. It didn't see
much use these days, except for the odd Little League
game. Folks my age liked to bet on them. Nothing much,
just a bit of big kid fun in a sea of youth. Others drank, of
course.
Sometimes you can't escape your age, hard as you try.
Sometimes you wrap yourself in it.
Just a couple of bets. No harm done.

I finished sweeping out the office and prepared to set
the lines in the field. The air bit into my face when I
opened the door. Too cold for August. The lights, those
damned lights, made a white mess of the park for a
moment. Just a moment, of course, but long enough to
miss what was there.
Long enough to miss her, at first.
She stood in the centre of the field, her back to home
plate, to me. The same brown polka dot dress that she
wore to homecoming all those years ago. The same
matching lavender ribbon in her hair.

I called out her name, startled by the sound of it on my
cracked lips and tongue. It hung heavy in the air, and filled
the diamond. I could feel myself collapsing under its
weight.
Sometimes words are heavy. Sometimes silence is
heavier. I never expected to say those words again, and the
silence after hearing them was crushing me beneath it. I
wiped my eyes and struggled to stay on my feet. I called
out her name again, and stepped forward.
I guess you could call a thing like that foolish. Maybe
instinct, really. What makes a man walk toward something
he knows can't be true?

The same hair, God...
The hope that it is.
My vision cleared enough to see her, and then
immediately blurred again when I did.
Stupid, blubbering old fool.

I joined her on home plate, so close that I caught the
scent of her breath on the wind. She turned to face me
before I could speak.

I wanted to tell her I was sorry, and I wanted to tell her
I loved her, but both were things she already knew. Gently,
she traced her hands down my shirt and around my
stomach, pulled me close and buried her head in my chest.
I wrapped my arms around her and kissed the top of her
head. The tears dripped down my chin to her brow.
I asked if I could be with her.
She pulled away, slightly, and met my gaze.

It was her eyes that were different, the only thing.
She''d escaped all of the years that had carved jagged lines
into my face, but her eyes were the oldest I've ever seen.

It was her eyes that told me. Old man and an angel.
Our time would come, if I wanted. But now was
all we would have in this life.
Sometimes you can't escape your age, hard
as you try. Sometimes you wrap yourself in it.

I started to cry again. Couldn't help it, old fool.
I wrapped myself in her, long as I could,
The front of her dress was still stained red. Brown
turned to deep burgundy where the bottom of the dash had
collided with her stomach. I opened my mouth, and she
placed a finger on my lips. I closed my eyes and kissed it.

as the years between us faded away
in
the

When I opened them she smiled at me. That same
smile. She moved her hand to brush a tear from my face,
catching it on my grey stubble. I took her hand in mine
and held it to my cheek a moment longer, listening to her
heartbeat. I could hear my own, too, but couldn't tell the
distance.

baseball
field
at night.

Whisper close and miles away.


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