What had been so effortless in little league suddenly became awkward, painfully mechanical. My arm was hungry for eyes cocked my way from under dark hair and a shy smile. Should I be cool, confident? Should I flex my bicep? My hands wrap a little tighter around the plastic bat. Was I making too much of this? Did my best friend, standing like a statue on the "mound" (marked by a paper plate) know or care that I needed a hit?That I needed, like a salmon needs to charge upstream, to make the plastic swiss cheese pill dissapper into the trees? But no. Better to earn it. Better for it to curve through space, defying me to swing hard, my arms betting against the pitcher, against the ball, against her indifference toward me, that my swing wouldn't be in vain.
Could it be as simple as it looked, the way the spinning blur of the ball floats to me like a gift? I'm almost dissappointed. I draw it in, as though controlling it with a beam from my eyes, and gloriously, defiantly, swing.