Turff Club

Behind me, miles and minutes, is a coast line with bodies crowded around a fire. Laughter and wind tangling sand in to hair and the cuffs of jeans. Hoods pulled up, sunset still touching the horizon despite the late hour.

My car jostles on the road—she’s over 100K and needs a checkup but I keep forgetting. I love her but I am inattentive to mechanical details. We shudder past warehouses, the water to our left, Seattle a glittering cluster of sky scrapers and cranes. A light flips to red and as I slow down I see the sign for indoor soccer plastered on a warehouse.

And I’m back there, following a hand drawn map between semis and warehouses, the road gravel in my memory, though it may have been merely pot holed and rutted. I find the right warehouse and park, uncertain but drawn to the light inside. I know some faces but at this point, over a decade later, I can’t tell you a single name. Just the bleachers, the astroturf, a soccer ball and the bodies careening after it, so quickly it’s difficult to follow. There is anger and shoulders and arms gesturing—shoving that almost becomes a full out fight but pulls back just shy of a punch.

And because I have a crush on him, I offer my friend a ride home. Or we’ve prearranged this—again, I can’t remember. My memory jumps from game to car—the way the windows immediately steamed up and how frustrated he was at how everyone played. And all I could think was – this moisture is the physical representation of what I just saw; that crazy energy, the bodies and shouting and cacophony of a game meant to be played outside confined by the walls and ceiling of a refurbished warehouse. How alive we are, in this moment. How that very aliveness is encapsulated. Everything somehow suspended and pushed against the glass until it has to become moisture gathering, beginning to drip.

I touch this memory so often that I’m sure it’s changed—by replaying memories we rewrite what we revisit. I have the map, folded in the leather jacket I wore that night, pink ballpoint pen starting to fade. And I could ask him—we are still friends, though closer now, more important to each other despite distance. We love each other in the way that old friends—talking every few months, emailing more frequently, sending care packages from coast to coast filled with random trinkets and hand written notes – love each other. Unconditionally but without romance. But I won’t ask him, because I like what I remember and we are all allowed our small delusions.

The light goes green and I move forward, following the edge of Elliot Bay towards home.


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