You brought our freedom as a mirage in their parallax vision. In that one brick wall shirt that you wore every day. That spring noontime, in gym class, that we stood at the far end of the parking lot ballfield—you with your middle finger masking-taped to two popsicle sticks, splinted—and you urged me, with each change of batter, to retreat ten feet more from the game.
We did it for the full 48 minutes, gliding backwards in our ballgame-facing position—behind the chain that marked the schoolyard boundary, onto and beyond the sidewalk, across the street, down the block—slack witnesses reverse-looming further and further away.
To have watched receding the whole civilization, that credence! Only the bell of the period startled us from it—and you laughed at the top of your lungs, yowled, as I scrambled—we’d never get back in time. You turned rightway around, that sly loping walk of yours, made of your hands a listing scale of comically foregone decision. To have watched it all receding, in those Lion’s Club glasses, without blinking. You were right: we were well out of that now.
by Nicole Matos
Nicole Matos is a Chicago-based writer, professor, and roller derby girl. Her credits include Salon, The Classical, The Rumpus, THE2NDHAND, Vine Leaves, Chicago Literati, berfrois, Oblong, neutrons protons, and others. You can catch her blogging for Medium, publishing tappable stories on Tapestry, and competing as Nicomatose #D0A with the Chicago Outfit Roller Derby, too.