I sensed he could see me. I was partially illuminated by a neon beer sign, local brewery. Whenever I could attend a game, I gravitated to the sign, a good luck talisman for both of us. It was opposite the Green Monster, the famous Fenway wall, and for Dusty he could glance at the sign, me, kiss his cross necklace, and then bang a ball toward outer space.
My ride to Boston this Friday evening was plagued by every darn variable that could impede my path to Dusty, my hunky shortstop and my home plate. My boss called a meeting at two. It ran late, so I crammed onto a DC-Boston express train, already an hour behind my agenda. We streamlined until an impasse - Philadelphia rain has to be the worst. One drop and there are electrical issues or some nonsense that kept us stalled on the tracks. Finally, dry land in Boston but no cabs. A Serb in an ancient sedan stopped for my outstretched hand. I gave up arguing the best route to Fenway, slumped in my seat, and shelled out ridiculous fare but no tip. Yeah buddy, welcome to America.
My stomach growled. I bellied up to concessions for a very unladylike brat and beer, and then went to my seat for the final inning. Tired, I closed my eyes and listened to the baseball commentary, ears perking up for Dusty's name. I've loved him since Little League days when he played with my older brother. Both had flyaway ears, my brother blond, Dusty redhead - hair sticking out from caps, droopy drawers, and mouths chewing wads of gum or spitting sunflower seeds. Through junior high, high school, college, I saw every game, rooted for wins, cried for losses, patiently hauled gear, and obsessed over RBI stats. My job after college sent me to DC, but his hometown Boston gig clinched the big show.
Tonight, we'd reunite in his penthouse. I flushed thinking about our postgame ritual. Kisses, rubbing ointment on sore muscles, and finally going to bat and rounding bases.
Victory. I roused myself from my reverie and headed to his nearby home suite. Champagne in the fridge. He must have shared my thoughts. My cell rang. "Hey Dusty, I'm here and ready to toast your run."
"Babe, I'm sorry. Red-eye to Seattle."
"Traded to the Mariners. Guess I'm too good. They spent a bunch," his strained laughter let me know he was trying to cheer me up. "Gotta go. I love ya, and hey we play the Red Sox in a month."
I sighed and hung up. Hit by a wild pitch, I was sleepless in Boston.
First published: February, 2012
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