Out of the Loop
She had always been in charge, I had merely failed to pay attention. It was a slow courtship, a bit of a passive and fun approach really. Like an approach shot in tennis, you’re moving forward, you’re heading toward the net, and you’re finding forward momentum even if the opposing team is stronger and winning.
It’s true, I wasn’t in the mood when I met her for the first time. I was focused on tennis. I did remember telling the manager of the pro shop, “Get me the email of that mixed group, I really do want to meet some more women who play tennis.” I was somewhat depressed from the recent demise of my older brother who fizzled and sputtered out over the summer. Dying in my mother’s living room where hospice had put the bed with rails, so he wouldn’t fall out in the middle of the night.
Tennis had always been part of my recovery. Recovery from depression, divorce, devastating loss, and served as a reboot of sorts. I knew I was on the mend when I began putting my energy out on the court again. I started with the noon cardio workouts. I evolved into asking for the Friday Night Tennis contact info.
It almost didn’t happen. Somehow, I rubbed that week’s organizer the wrong way. It wasn’t clear to me until I found her MAGA-happy Facebook page. We agreed to never talk about it, politics and focus on the group of happy men and women who spent Friday evenings playing tennis and drinking beer.
To me, she was a bit too frumpy. A lot too young. And somewhat unavailable, due to the nature of her solo-mom role to an eight-year-old son. Solo, partially because she couldn’t, didn’t, or forgot to make establishing a relationship a priority in her life. She played ultimate frisbee around the world and played the field of men and women along the way, never staying long enough to become securely attached.
Obviously, my attachment was insecure from the moment she agreed to a date. And as much as I tried to alter her natural coping mechanisms, we never found a common purpose in establishing our coupleship.
It would always be her and her boy. I am no longer a “nice to have.”
Read more Short-Short Stories from John.