by Val Amant
I was standing in line waiting for my turn to kick the ball.
It was early October in 1962. The wind would turn brisk at moments. When it settled, the warmth of the sun warmed my skin but more it warmed my heart and soul. Then it would get ripped away by the wind, sending a shiver down my arms from its icy phantom touch. I reached for my zipper on my jacket and pulled it up to my neck then down a couple of inches.
Somehow today felt different.
Someone decided that we students needed to exercise for at least thirty minutes each day and it didn’t appear to be Miss Nora’s decision. She decided that we’d spend our thirty minutes outside today playing kickball when she found out that that was what the other seventh grade teacher was doing.
I smirked and watched the ball get grabbed up by the wind as it sailed above second base after Jimmy kicked it. He ran as fast as he could to first base and rounded the other players until he landed on second. It was getting close to my turn to kick the ball.
The wind suddenly picked up again bringing sand dancing up off the pavement some of which parked in my eyes. I turned, quickly looking away from the playfield. My eyes caught the disabled and disadvantaged children near the school building, where they were being assembled on top of the short bank to watch us play. A girl I figured probably around my age was sitting in a wheelchair. She appeared to be looking straight at me as if our eyes magically met; the wind blowing sand into my eyes for a reason. She looked sad. The gods knew.
The Fall of a sick feeling started in my head which quickly fell down and spread into my heart, then quickly fell into my stomach with a galumph turning and churning making me feel very upset. I then quickly looked over at Miss Nora, holding my stomach. She was standing and talking with the other seventh grade teacher.
The wind quickly rushed by me again, the gods were speaking to me. I turned without any further hesitation and sprinted towards the bank. I needed to make the terribly sick feeling Fall away and hopefully bring a smile to her face.
They stood their ground watching me as I approached them on the run. I focused on her face and knew exactly what I needed to do to remedy the sick feeling and to please the gods.
I ran behind her chair, releasing the brake and slid my sneakers on the blacktop pavement as we descended the slope to the playground. It went so quickly her teacher and mine didn’t even have time to realize what I was doing.
I noticed her white knuckles as she gripped the arms of her chair. She leaned forward and looked ahead with a degree of anxiety as we descended the slope. Once on the playground she looked back smiling the wind taking her hair back, her eyes big with excitement.
I got back into line in the same place where I left it as if that time never passed. We were next to go to bat. Miss Nora and the other teacher watched us with a mixture of curiosity and awe.
It was our turn.
I brought her wheelchair just past home plate facing first base and I got ready to kick the ball. The ball was tossed and it rolled towards home plate. I stepped backwards putting my weight onto my left leg then kicked the ball the hardest I ever kicked the ball letting the gods take it away. I grabbed the handles of her wheelchair and pushed her as fast as I could.
We safely made it to first base. My team cheered louder than they ever cheered in the game. I saw Miss Nora’s face turn into a smile.
Marion, an immigrant from Germany, was a well-built strong boy struggling with the English language but he knew soccer. His turn was next. He kicked the ball way out into left field.
I was immediately off first base and rolled her to second. I glanced out into the field where the other kids were still scrambling to track down the ball. I took the opportunity to get her to third.
I heard Marion on my heels, yelling at me to keep going, half in English, half in German. I did. I turned and pushed her to home base, scoring, Marion scoring right behind us.
She turned and laughed clapping her hands, totally exhilarated our eyes danced and celebrated together.
She looked so beautiful to me.
Marion didn’t stop running. He ran towards the assembly of disadvantaged children and returned with Thomas in his wheelchair. Thomas and Marion were both psyched, laughing like long time friends.
Shortly, the game got interrupted as all of Miss Nora’s class ran up to the children on the slope. Every single disadvantaged child was now playing kickball with us.
My stomach quickly fell into happiness. My heart fell into love. My brain fell into jubilation showering my body with the warmth from the gods.
Somehow today felt different.
The five minute warning bell rang much too soon. I frowned as we all took our new friends back up the bank where we found them.
I ran her up the bank and rolled her chair up in line with the others. That didn’t stop them from smiling, laughing and talking animatedly about our game. I secured the brakes to her wheelchair, before walking around to kneel before her. I looked deep into her brown eyes and I placed my hands on her chair’s arms. Everything and everyone suddenly disappeared from my world except for her.
Our eyes spoke to each other without either one of us saying a single word. It seemed like forever. “What’s your name?”
She smiled a loving smile at me. “I’m Ginny,” she said softly, the wind tossing her hair across her face. She placed her hand on top of mine.
The electricity from her touch quickly ascended up my arm filling my entire body with the powerful passion of love, creating a warmth a hundred times greater than that of the sun on my arm.
I smiled. “I’m Al.”
I gently pushed her hair out of her eyes as we continued to stare at one another, our eyes speaking pure love.
I knew then and there how today was different.
Read Come Dance with Me! to see how Ginny and Al tell their story.
A heart warming sweet love story which will bring a tear to your eye.
~: Love is Pure, Passionate, Powerful, and Painful :~