Summer Fantasy

by Joanne Grier

 

Catherine stood waiting for the elevator, happy to have her work day finished, when Edie walked out of the ladies room.  “Wow, that was a fast change.  Where are you headed?”

“Girl friend, I can tell you aren’t sports savvy or you wouldn’t need to ask,” she laughed.  She pivoted on one foot, presenting her back to Catherine.  Emblazoned across the back of her blue shirt were the words Deacon’s Slugger’s.

“Oh, this is your baseball game night, right?”

“Why don’t ya come along?  We could use more people in the cheering section.  We’re playing in the park so it wouldn’t be far from your place.  We could stop there so you could change.”

“OK, you got a date.”

*****

They chatted as they walked toward the diamonds, and Catherine constantly laughed at Edie’s bawdy comments about the male runners who streaked past.  The park was pristine in its beauty, the flowers a perfect complement against the lush grass.  Edie’s mitt was hooked to her belt and her baseball bat rested across her shoulder; in her other hand was the tote containing her work clothes.  Catherine carried a small bag containing their sandwiches and drinks.

The previous game was tied and had gone into extra innings, so Edie and Catherine found comfortable spots and munched on their impromptu picnic fare.  Finally, the other game was over, and Edie left Catherine to join her team.

As she watched, Catherine thought of Vincent, wishing that he were here to enjoy the delightful summer air and watch the game.  She remembered his description of seeing his first ballgame when he was eight.  He and Devin had gone to Peter’s to deliver a message and they were invited to watch the game on TV while he replied to Father’s note. 

Later, when Devin had again taken him Above to the forbidden wonders of the park, they had gone to the baseball diamonds.  Under a moonless sky they had pretended – Devin throwing the ball and Vincent batted and ran the bases.  They had been so excited it had taken hours after their return to calm and settle to sleep.  And the next moonless night, they went again.

The loud crack of the bat brought Catherine back to the moment, and she saw the ball soaring higher and higher as Edie streaked around the bases.  She hit the dirt and slid across home plate a full ten seconds before the ball slapped into the catcher’s mitt. Catherine grinned and gave Edie a thumb’s up as she triumphantly joined her team’s happy dance of victory.

“Come on, Cathy, we’d better hurry or we won’t get a seat on the church bus.”

“What bus, where are we going?” she queried as Edie pulled her along.

“Deacon Watson sends the church bus to pick us up.  He allows that we can play in the park safely, but he’s totally against our walking out of the park even though it is still reasonably light.”

Catherine allowed herself to be swept along with the group, learning as they boarded that they were now headed to the Statute of Library.  Going there was somewhat of a tradition after each winning season, adding to the fantasy they had built about their team being powerful enough to whip the Yankees.  Aboard the bus, Catherine found herself laughing at the stories of past glories.

The laughing mass of humanity trooped onto the boat, and soon they were clipping across the waves toward Liberty Island. Once they had docked, they were greeted by Edie’s uncle, who had worked at the Statue for fifteen years.  A line was formed, and together they marched and danced around the outer perimeter of the Statute’s base, shouting, “Deacon’s Sluggers are Victorious.”  The Statue’s staff smiled, as over the years they had become accustomed to these impromptu victory dances and then their quiet, respectful departure.

 

*****

Vincent stood with Catherine wrapped in his arms, his head resting lightly against her head as he listened to the story of her evening.  “I felt your joy all evening.”

“It was a spur of the moment decision, yet it couldn’t have been more perfect.  When Edie hit a home run to bring in the winning runs, it was the perfect topping to a great evening.”

“Your joy was contagious as I found myself smiling at your giddy delight.”

“I was remembering Devin’s taking you to the baseball diamonds and I could picture that small boy running the bases.  I kept wishing you were there beside me, enjoying the air, and the game.”

“I was there.  Your happy spirit captured me and I felt the warmth of the grass, the scent of the flowers, and the smell of the popcorn you consumed.  It was your gift to me, allowing me to experience the pleasure of an evening playing a childhood game.”

“Would Father permit the children to come Above to attend a game at Yankee Stadium?  I could get tickets for them and their adult chaperones.  It would be such a treat.”

“You know Father has a weakness where the children are concerned,” he offered with a shy smile.

“I’ll ask him when I next see him.”

They continued to look over the vast splendor of lights, secure and happy in simply being together.  The complexities of their lives forgotten as their mutual joy consumed them.

“Summer is a time for fantasies; just as winter is filled with warm dreams.  Our world is a mixture of both and we must wisely make use of our winter dreams as we await our summer fantasy.”

“Do you have such fantasies, Vincent?”

“Oh, yes, and I’m living one now,” he softly whispered.  His hand tilted her face up and his lips gently captured hers.  Her contented sigh echoed in the stillness as her fingers settled into his hair. 

Summer fantasies are always to be enjoyed.

 

The End

 

 

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