It’s Friday night, right up to Thanksgiving. It’s late this time; the game is at Austintown Fitch, in Mahoning County, two counties away, east on the turnpike. It’s not even a league game, so it doesn’t count. I don’t understand the stupidity of having kids knock the crap out of each other, extra.
It’s late; it’s a long way to and from Austintown. Too late for Radio Theater Los Angeles; listening to the Duke Ellington/Billy Strayhorn interview, again. Fabulous musicians, wonderful to hear, but a re-run nevertheless. I wonder if PRI will ever get the kind of money they need. They’ve even called me to thank me for my pitiful continuing donation of a few dollars a month. Think how sad that is.
Well, it’s a beautiful night. I have on my lightest jacket and have it unzipped, a wonder for an always cold old person. I’m parked at the curb, not in the lot. It’s a faster get-away out to Stow Road, down to 303 and home. It can be a game of chicken, running the lane between the incoming and the parked cars. I told Laura, if your mirrors can clear, so do you. Just watch for that.
There is a white car parked to my left, in the lot, under one of the many lights. They do light up this campus like day, every night. And, the stadium lights aren’t even on, because it’s an away game. The car seems to have a wrinkled front fender, and I study on it intently, to the melody of Take the A Train. Finally I take a close up picture, but still cannot discern actual crumpled metal.
I’m not the same person as last year. I can stare at that crumpled fender, oblivious to everything. Suddenly the dents disappear, then reappear. I do not understand. I look harder, but nothing happens. I check my phone for the time. ETA is 11:30 for the band busses. The dancer’s bus has already come and sent the dancers on their ways.
The dents disappear again and reappear again. I see it! They are images of the leaves to the tree in the median and a car pulling into or out of a space interrupts the light from one of the lamp standards. How neat.
The band straggles out from the school. They are delivered to a different door, to go in, put up their instruments, change out of their uniforms, and stagger out under the weight of a loaded garment bag and a hat box. No wonder they leave the instruments in a locker at school.
Laura opens doors to deposit her burden in back and then fall into the front seat.
“How was the game?”
“I know, 20-7.” I cheat and keep an eye on the running score so I have an idea when to leave. As for football, I could care less.
“Three guys went down. One went to the hospital.”
It must have been late in the last quarter; the football dad who “broadcasts” the game, somehow, on the internet, has typed no mention of it.
“How were they hurt?”
“I don’t know. I don’t understand football.”