last night i dreamed of roey*. i was sitting on the old bleachers that used to rise above the grassy field at sixth street, across from the old high school. it was close enough to the beach that when the field was empty you could hear the ocean and the gulls.
she was playing basketball, dressed in a funny bloomer outfit, with dark sneakers, her hair dark as mine once was, held back across her forehead with a clip. there was a gangliness about her, that only moving morphed into grace. about half way up the court she paused, turned, and tossed the ball with effortless ease into the basket and it fell so perfectly it didn't even touch the net.
the ball bounded back to her, and she dribbled it over to me. did you see that, she said. i thought i was out of practice but it's all coming back to me quick.
it sure is, roey, i said, marveling at her hands, the size of baseball mitts. in her face glowing with youth, i saw my own wide mouth, my own square jaw.
i'm sorry i was so mean, she said. i know i gave you a lot of trouble, and i want you to know i'm sorry for hurting your feelings, because i know i did. but that was my job, you know. i was a guard. i was there to...
to do what, i asked, maybe a bit sarcastically. keep me from what i wanted?
i was there to help you perfect your shot, she answered. and then she faded, dribbling, away.
and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.
* roey is my name for my grandmother...she was a most accomplished basketball player in her youth, so much so that she was made captain of her high school basketball team as a sophmore, and under her tenure, the team enjoyed three undefeated years. her position was guard. she died last thursday at the age of 95.