Earlier this week I had a baseball game that I've dreaded all season, and I hoped and prayed (and prayed!!!!) that I wouldn't have to be the starting pitcher.
I was the starting pitcher. Dammit!
I've dreaded this game for only one reason: I would have to pitch to my cousin Jake, who I basically don't exist to. He's my Mom's nephew, the only grandson on her side of the family. His Mom is actually really nice to me, and she works at the pizza buffet I love to go too (probably too often!). To Jake I'm some guy he unfortunately has to know. I'm the Grandson they don't talk about, all because my parents had me out of wedlock and had the nerve not to marry(and probably divorce). People make no fucking sense to me sometimes!
At the game I had guys on first and second, two outs, and then Jake came up to bat. Dammit! He's fat like me but with his big butt he makes the ball fly when he hits it, and he bats hard!
First pitch I threw some heat and he swung so hard he almost hit the catcher with his bat.
Second pitch I threw my garbage ball, slow, wobbly and hard to gauge. I call it my "WTF" throw because that's what you think after it goes by you and lands in the catcher's mitt.
My third pitch I just stood there and stared at Jake, who looks so much like me (I have my Mom's face, Dad's eyes) and tried to think of a way out. I rifled one as fast as I could down the center and Jake just missed it by a hair, slamming his bat down it disgust.
Strike three...you're out!
My teammates congratulated me on striking him out but I didn't feel good about it, but then the manager told me I did what the team needed me to do. I felt better but still weird about it all.
We ended up losing the game by a run and at the after game team meeting I was given the game ball, and after what must have been my "WTF" expression the manager told me it was for good sportsmanship for pitching against my cousin like he was just another opposing hitter. Okay, that made sense.
After each game I'm the last player to leave, I just need to sit there and think things over and settle down, especially after a loss. The first thing I do is take out my cup (never found a comfortable one) and I just put my arms behind my head and close my eyes, sitting there replaying the game in slow mo. After a few minutes I heard a voice and I opened my eyes, not believing what I was seeing.
"Good game", my cousin Jake said.
"That last pitch was scary! Thought you were going to hit me!"
"No...I wouldn't do that to you"
"Hey, my mom want you and...grandma...to have dinner with us tonight?"
I knew I was hearing shit again. He wanted me to have dinner him and his mom...yeah right, that would ever happen!
I grabbed my gear bag and walked out of the dugout and right in front of me was my Grandma and my Aunt Carol, talking like old friends. My Grandma hugged me like she always did after a game, and so did my Aunt, who reminded me of how big I was getting. Another WTF moment.
We went to eat at a sports bar where my Grandma and I go to a few times a month, and we just talked. Jake sat next to me, and I sat across from my Aunt, and she told me things like how I'm as a big as my Dad now and how much I look like my Mom.
Things you say at family gatherings.
My Aunt told me that my grandfather's birthday was in two weeks and we were welcome to attend his party, then she grabbed my hand and told me "please"...
No wasn't an answer.
I couldn't say it but I shook my head and she smiled, and so did my Grandma. Jake pushed himself against me but I wasn't uncomfortable with him anymore, and damn he gave off a lot of body heat!
We had ice cream for desert and then we left after being there for over a hour. In the parking lot my Aunt gave me a tight hug, then gave my Grandma one who then gave Jake a big one. He told her "I love you Grandma", which I think was the first time he'd ever said that to her.
Jake held his hand out to me to shake but that didn't seem right. I held my arms out to him and he hugged me so hard he almost knocked me over. I whispered into his hear that I love him and he squeezed me even harder and said it back.
I don't know how long we hugged but we let go at the same time, really I wanted to hold him all night. I pulled my phone out of the bag to check it (a few texts from Matthew and Christian)and Jake pulled his out and asked me for my number. I didn't know what to say but we exchanged numbers and then told each other "see ya" and left.
My Grandma didn't say a word the whole drive home, and I know something's wrong when that happens. Damn. The quieter she it the worse it is. This was major.
When we got home I grabbed a can of soda from the fridge and tried to go down to my room before she could say anything but she intercepted me:
Sam...honey we need to talk.
This was serious. When she calls me "honey" it's bad.
And it is.
(To be continued)