Last drips of light sponge into the horizon.
“Can you make the throw?” I still hear the voices every time I pick up a ball.
Sunspots dust my eyes through reflected visor plastic, condensation pooling with every carefully dosed breath through flared nostrils. Hiding in a helmet.
Nowhere did I feel safer, never did I feel more vulnerable; exposed. Garbed in mask and armor, Zoro masquerading, leaving my mark distinctly with every arm stroke, a renegade always on the run, cape neglected from the ensemble as it had a penchant for slowing down my gait.
Two strides, balls of my feet bouncing like twenty-five cent rubber trinkets off the graded tire turf.
I can hardly force down cotton full swallows of spit.
I’m deaf to the world entirely, feeling for vibrations in the dark – a base drum heartbeat, footsteps that rumble the ground. Like the bats darting in and out of lights flooding over the field above, echolocation my guide.
The unknown terrifying, what we know all too well, equally so. Damning. What I seek, I can’t find and I’ve learned thinking lightly is difficult to do. I try anyways.
“Did you ever see the sun set from the hill?”
“Never dared to look, Adam. It’s always a race and you know how I hate to lose.”
Three steps, a rubber-band-snap release, 40 yards and a leather to plastic thunk in the bottom of a trashcan; resounding.
“They’re pretty, you know, sunsets. You get to see a day end, reflect, enjoy.”
Unresponsive, unflinching, I sling off another pass into the waning, melancholy light; mechanical.
“Wouldn’t hurt to watch a sunset every once in a while, Scarecrow.”
Frozen in my drop, my mouth unclenching as if drips from an oil can had been applied liberally. I thought about the long road ahead, about home, about walking through cloud. Comfort intertwined with fear, both having their purpose.
The sun will be back, many times in fact. Rising, setting, bobbing through the sky on the end of a fishing line. I know this just as I acknowledge my sunsets are counted. Drifting along through rippled waters.
“I’ll watch sunsets on the moon.”