Screwball by Richard Zaborowske
My son is sitting down and I can see, even from the bleachers, that he has turned into a steam shovel. On my neck I feel the heat of the low slung sun, and the other parent’s smoldering embarrassment for me. I imagine them stealing glances from him to me, from me to him. His little teammates are facing the batter, gloves at the ready, bending down perfectly as if sitting on air. While my son’s bucket hands scoop the fine powdery sand high above his head and he watches intently as the falling wisps catch in the wind and scatter in the light of the setting sun. His mouth is open and I can make out the faintest clatter and hiss. His crumpled orange hat, with the large embroidered “A,” is lying where his foot should be on second base. His tiny glove, the baseball mitt that I purchased only after hours of reading and agonizing over online user reviews, lies far away in the outfield; mysteriously abandoned. I wonder what my son is searching for. Why the need for a second inning excavation? I imagine he is looking for diamonds, jewels, something shiny, something that sparkles. His world is still scattered with hidden treasure and anything he can cram into his pockets is prized. And maybe, I think, he’s not searching at all. Maybe he’s just amazed by those smoke hazed summer sunsets that linger long like a heartache. Maybe he realizes that this far north, summer is forever falling back, stumbling into winter. It’s not to be wasted on the off chance some kid is going to hit a ball your way. Not to be squandered when you're surrounded by oh so much sand.
Richard Zaborowske is a librarian from the Midwest that puts a contemporary twist on traditional library offerings. His monthly Short Story Night packs the local brewery and features trivia, comedy, and author interviews. He’s a long time reader, first time author. His writing is forthcoming in Barstow and Grand.