yours, tiramisu

are we still playing soccer that sunny june afternoon?

Yesterday I was walking around the neighborhood when I spotted the two brothers I play soccer with in the cul-de-sac. They came running as they always do, screaming and waving their arms around wildly, and as usual I couldn't help but grin. I don't know where else I can get a reception like that.

It's been a long time since we played. When we first started playing on the street I was still in college and the older brother Daniel in middle school. Now he towers over me and plays on his high school's varsity team. They made it to the state finals on Saturday. I had half a mind to go cheer him on, but it's on the other side of the city, an hour and a half away by car.

To temper their good news about the state finals I tell them I'm moving to New York again soon.

"For good?" the younger one Mal whines in disbelief. His curly hair reaches midway up my torso now. "Can't you stay forever? Or at least until I graduate high school?"

I laugh. I'll be in my thirties when he graduates.

"I wish," I say when I manage to catch my breath, which is not a full untruth. Of course I'd rather be in New York, but I do wish some part of me could stay behind and kick around with them forever, in the same way I wish I could still cut class with friends or rehearse with my old ensembles. Alas, I can only be in one place at a time, and this is not the place I need to be right now.

"Did you get a new job? Where will you stay? Won't it be dangerous?" I know Daniel's grown from the kinds of questions he asks now. Their image of New York as a crime-ridden slum makes me wonder if they've ever actually visited.

Mal asks the harder questions. "Will you visit? Can you send us mail?"

"I'll try. Of course I'll write." I mean it. I always write, even though the postal service ate the postcard I sent them last summer. Judging from the way Daniel and Mal use their dented mailbox as a goalpost, I'd be surprised if anything I send them ever shows up.

I've watched them grow up in front of my eyes these past few years. When Daniel and I play ones1 we know all of each other's moves. I know he'll step over and cut right before even he does, and we've both learned to keep our legs closed to avoid getting nutmegged. Even if his teenage ego has inflated a bit too much for my liking, I'm going to miss him. He and his brother seem to get taller every time I see them, and I know they'll be grown before I know it.

  1. 1v1s. 2v2s are called "twos", and so on.

#english #soccer #wordvomit