Bottom of the ninth. Runner on first. One out.
You’ve got your best baserunner on first. The Kid has wheels. He’s got 41 steals this year, only thrown out four times. Virtually a lock to nab second. Your #3 batter is up, cleanup guy on deck. Both hitting over .330 this year.
You peer from the dugout. Across the diamond, two hundred feet away, the third base coach locks his eyes to yours. You take a breath. You tune out the crowd. You make the decision, and swipe your hand over the brim of your cap.
Alright, so here’s the scene…
Taco Bell drive-thru. 7:43 pm. An overcast early Spring evening.
I’ve pulled up to the little box squawking at me with a clarity somewhere between Morse Code and Russian submarine radio signal, placed my order for a pair of burritos and a Diet Mountain Dew, and pulled forward.
There’s an unholy trinity, of sorts, that we all know. The three dates on the calendar we all dread: her birthday, the day she died, and Mother’s Day. The first two are yours to cope with any way you’d like; short of a phone call from family or your closest friends, the outside world doesn’t know the significance of the day. You can celebrate, grieve, or simply hide.
On Mother’s Day, though, there’s no hiding. It’s a cruel joke of a parade, amplified tenfold by Facebook and every other stream of media surrounding you—friend after friend singing the praises of their wonderful mother, smiling next to her with mimosas at brunch this morning, telling the world they “don’t know what they would do without her.”
I hate dating.
It’s an inverse Sophie’s Choice really, determining which of the two stages are more painful. There’s the actual dates themselves, volleys of uninteresting small talk queries occasionally pierced by idle observations on the food/beverage or other customers surrounding you. At worst, it’s a couple hours of your life you’ll never get back that serve only to push you further down the foxhole of sweet, sweet permanent solitude; at best, you walk away with a faint optimism about a second date—an optimism that, deep down inside, you know will be crushed in due time by the revelation of their functional alcoholism or Beanie Baby collection.