Note: This story originally appeared on my Substack page. I have decided to re-share it here as I cannot keep up with Substack, this blog, and two jobs at the same time anymore. For those of you who haven’t read the story before – or heard me retell it to you in person – I hope you enjoy it.
Category: Stories Page 1 of 6
I sat at the kitchen table for several hours after school working on my art project. All my markers were laid out on the table in color order, so I could see each one and think about what color I was going to use next. I picked up the burnt orange and glided the tip across the page, blending it when needed and making sure I colored evenly along the paper.
I came across this picture today of former Formula 1 drivers Martin Brundle and Ayrton Senna. Today is Brundle’s 63rd birthday. The first thing I noticed was the hand movement, which F1 drivers seem to make. It reminded me of the famous, and similar, conversation between Mika Häkkinen and Michael Schumacher. Then, I noticed the watch and said, “Hey. I used to have that watch.”
I returned to my car and slipped behind the steering wheel. I had already hiked several miles and was looking forward to getting back to my hotel room and resting before dinner. As I began to take the turn and leave the area surrounding the Grebel Ponds at Fort Robinson State Park behind me, I noticed a large, dark figure come over the top of a nearby ridge to my left. I stopped the car and squinted into the distance. A lone bison was wandering down the slope of the hill, stopping momentarily, here and there, for a bite to eat. It paid no attention to me.
Aunt Julie and I had spent at least 20 minutes daring each other to do stupid things when we decided shoving things up our noses was not only cool, but funny. Julie was six years older than me, so she picked things that were relatively easy, like Q-tips and pencils. Not to be outdone, I went a step too far.
My eyes were fixated on the clock. It read 7:43 a.m. Karla would be knocking on my door soon. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, we walked together to Bessey Hall. She had a class and I went into the Anthropology lab to clean and label artifacts.
I was stretched out on the couch under my bald eagle blanket. I stared at the red numbers on the digital clock and watched it turn to 7:44 a.m. There was a bang on my door. My eyes rapidly shifted to my doorknob. Did I remember to lock the door last night?
I stared at the signs Stacy was showing 60 feet away. I shook her off a few times before settling in on my “go-to” pitch. I could place it almost anywhere.
Standing on the pitcher’s mound, the entire world melted away. My teammates knew I liked it quiet, so the normal cheers of encouragement were rarely heard when I was on the mound. I shut out the people screaming in the stands. It was just me, the catcher, and the batter.
I was a junior in high school before I first attempted to take the bus to school. If you lived more than two miles from school, the district would provide a school bus for students. This was a new experience for me. I was nervous. I had always walked to school, but the idea of not being cold in winter or arriving to school sweaty in June was enticing.