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Finding Home

27 Jul

My clothes get covered in dirt as I sit at home looking out into the field. The lights were left on at my request, I wanted to make sure that I could paint the perfect image. The dirt continues to blow in little swirls as the wind from the oncoming storm begins to pick up and my beard darkens from dust that continues to catch in it.

The scoreboard, also still on from my request, is telling part of a story I wished to capture. It lets the fans know how their team took a beating to the tune of 18-5. It was hard to watch, even as a long time fan. This team had a rough season with little wins, and tonight’s loss was worse than the no hitter they endured the week before.

Behind me a bolt of lightning illuminates the sky as a crack of thunder makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand. Still, I sit on home plate, looking out at the field. I can see him standing at second still, a goofy smile spread across his face. It was his first hit of the night and he had managed to turn it into a double. I was proud of him and I still am.

I closed my eyes as I sniffed the air and could smell the rain coming in. In my mind I could see myself standing where he was once. A simple boy in love with the game. I remember the last time I was his age and playing ball. I had hit the cycle and was given the game ball after delivering a trouncing much like the one that was delivered here tonight. My father had rushed out onto the field to give me a hug, despite protests from the umpire and the coaches.

Rain drops began to fall gently now and they darkened my grey jersey. I opened my eyes and grabbed at the wooden bat I had lying next to me, digging it into the ground as a way to haul myself back to my feet. I looked back out at the field again, this time watching as my boy ran the bases. I turned and stared at third as I pictured him turning the corner and running for home. I stepped off the plate and watched as the memory from tonight slid safely in for a run.

The rain began coming down harder now and so I lowered my hat and began walking back to my car. In my hand I held the notebook that I used to sketch out the field and jot my memories of tonight’s game down. I gave a wave to the men up in the box and they went to work shutting everything off. Ahead of me, the lights to my van kicked on and a loud honk issued out between the claps of thunder. I ran over, opened the door, and hopped into the passenger seat.

“What took you so long?” my son asked. “You and mom promised us ice-cream 20 minutes ago!” He was still in his uniform and tossing his ball up and down. I reached back and pulled his hat over his mouth, forcing him to put his hands up in protest while laughing.

“You know what took him so long,” my wife replied. “He was making sure YOUR game was covered accurately, weren’t you Dan?” she turned at me and smiled, looking down at my dripping wet clothes and the notebook I had fought to keep dry.

“Absolutely,” I replied. “How am I to properly document the next great baseball player if I’m not given the time of day?” my son laughed and gave my arm a slight punch before demanding that we get ice-cream once again. I looked at my wife and nodded, indicating I was ready to leave. She pulled out and as she did I gave one last look at the field and watched as the lights began powering down one by one. It felt like watching the end of a movie and as the storm began to rage over head, it was the perfect end to a long season.

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