Vol. 3, No. 2: Today’s Baseball Fans photo

At the Wheelchair Races, HungoverChristian Winn

We got old one Saturday morning, then went for coffee and ended up at the high school football field.

There was an event in full swing. Banners and hooting, whistling, bright costumed adults and their children coasting the margins.

The sun was oily grey.

Our temples drummed a displaced fear that only sleep can allay.

Someone near the fence-line made a tired joke about the short-bus kids hobbling Washington Street, but only young couple laughed.

We watched athletes roll the red oval track, and silently wished they could tap dance or double-Dutch, steeplechase or hurdle or even stand. But apparently nobody’s god was going to allow for this.

Soon, it was a hot midday. A grass fire burned in the foothills north of the city.

One broke-neck kid screamed, It’s foggy! and his father said no, sniffed and pointed into the chalky matchstick air, smiling, reaching across to touch his boy’s temple.

Along the metal bleachers mothers screamed into the haloed sun.

A smear of geese lowered to the midfield grass, landed in a hush, had a look around, called loudly to us all before rising and V’ing west.

Mothers watched acutely. Mothers kept score.

Mothers bit their lips, cheeks, tongues, tasting blood and carbon, worrying the afternoon into something better than it was meant to be.

Mothers made us wish again for impossible things. Afterall, these were their girls and boys, the argument they would never win.

Soon enough an air horn blew. The races ended.

Points were tallied. Ribbons pinned on t-shirts. Everyone clapped, whistled. Busses were loaded and driven back into the city.

We waved to retreating vans and lifted 4x4’s, making our way. Happy hour wasn’t far off. That was something.

We pat each other on the back, nodding that those kids, man, those kids had a nice afternoon, didn’t they?

One of us said, I’m glad we stopped by, lucky we did. We all agreed that sometimes we get lucky on days we didn’t think we would, or even could.

But also, shuffling and squinting up 10th St. we looked to each other and silently agreed to ask for one more thing, agreed to ask please, one cold afternoon months and years from now could we look back and know with certainty, that this – the wheelchair girls and boys, our juddering heads and hands, all the tired mothers and the fathers, the grass fire, the blare of that airhorn, all this life we were carrying on amidst – all of it, could it just have never happened, never been thought up or assembled, please, could none of this or us have ever been seen through or made a thing in this world at all.

A couple of us laughed at this one, saying nice try, saying very nice try but no, saying wouldn’t it be pretty to think such wishful wishes could be made manifest in this life as we slowly walked west toward the next thing.

And sometimes, those years, this is how our days unspooled.