I stand on a spot in the public basketball court in Brenner's field as if I am standing flat-footed -- planted -- on a mountain top. I imagine autumn leaves cascading down on me as if they are background dancers dancing a choreographed dance around a center piece. My eyes are set on the basket attached to the backboard. My gaze is not deadset -- aimed -- because I don't have confidence. I dribble a few times like following the outward-going rhythm of sound of a smooth flat rock as it skips along a surface of water. I then stop and hold the ball and grope with my mind for any trace of the phantom of a returning rhythm of skips. Disappointed, I feel a breeze for the first time even though it has been windy the whole night.
After a pause, I fart then feel ashamed for doing it, seeing how Mary Anne would have not approved. I then want to do push-ups -- push-ups right then and there -- right in the middle of this asphalt, out in public like a loon, but decline. I know that Mary Anne would
not be impressed. She's not that type of girl. I walk home, acutely aware of the texture of the basketball, the multitude of little bumps.
The next morning is a Saturday and I hear a knock on the front door. I open it and a pretty brunette is standing in front of me. "Hi!" she said brightly. "I'm Alice. I saw a flyer and it said that you were looking for a housemate?" "Yes, ma'am. Come on in." As I close the door, I saw my next door neighbor standing in his driveway with a dripping sponge in his hand next to a half-washed car staring at me with a curious expression on his face.
I took her on a tour of the place. She took it all in seemingly with youthful naivete. I could sense that she had a bubbly personality, although my opinion of her in that regard might change over time if I was to take her on as my roommate but for the time being, she was displaying a very cordial air about her. I accepted her as my housemate. The arrangements seemed to her liking as far as I could tell.
She kept sneezing a bit during the tour and I asked her if that was going to be a problem. She said that she must've been coming down with something but didn't know what or why. The sneezing just recently started and she doesn't know of anything that she's allergic to and she commented on how she doesn't have a history of it. She said that it might've been a deal breaker but she was sort of desperate to quickly snatch up a place. As time progressed, the periodic sneezing didn't leave her. It didn't seem to get worse but it didn't get better either. It had settled into a small perpetual inconvenience that she seems fine with living with.
Several nights later, I found myself playing basketball in the same court at Brenner field burdened with the undertone of missing Mary Anne. I miss the way she made me feel. I thought that this was a selfish sentiment but after thinking about it, I concluded that it was not. Anybody who is in love with or loves somebody is with that person because
that person makes he or she feel loved or because he or she feels a lot of love for that person. In any event, it's all based on how the other person makes he or she feel. But . . . maybe I'm rationalizing. Maybe I'm missing something in that thought process. Maybe, just maybe, it might have something to do with why I'm not with Mary Anne anymore. I strangely felt how beautiful sunsets are and wished how nighttime and the passage of time didn't chase it away. But the consolation is that if I tried hard enough, I could conjure one up in my imagination anytime I want . . . but sometimes it would show up even when I don't want it to . . . like my memories of Mary Anne. I was lost in my thoughts and felt someone's eyes were on me. I always think that people can sense when someone is staring at them. But whenever I do get that tingling alert message -- whenever I'm out in the middle of the night playing basketball alone -- and I turn around, there's usually no one there.
But this time when I did, there was. "Alice," I said, startled. "Hi, Logan," "What are you doing here?" "Curiosity got the cat." "Well, as you can see, I don't do anything criminal or mischievious whenever I go out late at night," I chuckled. "Not tonight at least," she said winking. She walked up to me and tenderly grabbed my right hand. She looked into my eyes. "I want to talk about us," she said searching my face. "What . . . why is . . ., " I stammered. "Who is Mary Anne?" she asked. "Mar--, um, were you in that closet?" "Yes. It's always locked and you never use it. So . . . so, I got curious." "Well . . . I guess there is no harm in telling you. She's my ex-girlfriend." "And you keep all of your things of her in there?" "Yes." "How long have you guys been broken up?" "A while now." "Are you guys getting back together . . . ever?" My mind drifted as it tossed and turned that thought over and over. "I don't think so." There was a pause.
"Hmmm . . . how about, um, if we get to, um, know each other better? Alice put an arm around my waist and kissed me on the cheek. "I don't know if I'm ready," I said after a long pause, more to myself than to her. I looked up to see how she will take that response. She just smiled and her expression seemed frozen in time. As she faded away. She became more and more translucent then more and more transparent until she completely disappeared right before my eyes. I looked down at my hands and I was turning over the basketball in them -- feeling the texture, the small bumps. I sensed another set of eyes looking at me. When I turned around, two possums with glowing small orbs of eyes were staring right at me. I wonder what they were thinking while watching the one man show.