After a fight with a boyfriend, I picture soccer fields
It’s after midnight and my boyfriend and I are having a fight, and it reminds me of a fight I had with an ex-boyfriend. It’s a fight that makes me feel bad about myself, and for some reason I picture the soccer fields in Wilmington, my hometown. This is where I spent afternoons and weekends during so much of my childhood.
The memories are hazy and disjointed. I think about stamina, and how much I had back then, how I could run up and down the field for the entire game and never get tired. And then my body changed, everything changed really, and suddenly I couldn’t catch my breath.
I think of oranges during halftime, and how each family was responsible for bringing them on a different week. I remember the names of some of my teammates, and one girl in particular, Renee, whose father was a long-haul trucker. That is the most vivid detail I remember about her, and somehow I know it’s what made her the toughest girl on the team.
In my mind the memory is washed out. The grass is gray instead of green. For some reason I picture my father teaching me how to sprint next to Kidsplace, the playground he helped to build. I picture his chest upright and puffed out, his arms and legs pumping. A race against him was a race I could never win. He never carried a baton but he had run relays in high school, so he always ran as if he did. I can picture the baton in his hand, and really, the invisible baton is more real than the faded grass.
What I cannot see in these images, though, is my mother, who was always there on the sidelines at games, who brought me to and from practices, who bought and sliced and packaged up the oranges the team ate during halftime when it was our turn to bring them. I don’t know why on this random night in August, close to 3 am, after a fight with a boyfriend who I am not sure understands me, I am picturing soccer fields, and yet the person who made it possible for me to be at these fields, who in two months will have been gone for four years, is not a part of the picture.
He says I always win, but I’m not sure if he understands what I’ve lost.