of a tennis player, hiker, writer
|“Mom!” Laney says, plopping down on my carpeted office floor. –her back leaning against my small office refrigerator. “Did you hear what happened at JDS last night?”
“No,” I say, fingers still typing at the keyboard. I cut my eyes in her direction for a quick second.
“Well,” she starts out with a sort of laugh, “my car’s fine…but…”
My fingers freeze with a jolt, then hover over the keyboard, before I stop typing altogether and swivel my chair to face her. She has my undivided attention.
I glance over her, no bandages or broken skin. “You’re okay?” I ask, seeing she is…but I want her to confirm.. I make a mental note to fuss at her later. Why didn’t she call me last night?
“Your car’s okay?” I finally ask, needing verification.
“Yeah.” She crosses her legs. “Dontcha wanna hear what happened?”
Of course I do. I wave my hand palm side up as if to say, “Go ahead.”
“Well,” she settles in. “I pulled into a parking spot just in front of court 9 & 10.” She says this like it’s a question and I nod. “Well, I um, somehow got distracted and hit the curb. Then, I panicked. My foot hit the gas instead of the brake,” she pauses and a smile spreads across her face.
My fingers give that wiggling motion –to say, ‘…please get on with the story’
“My car went over the curb and down onto the lawn. You know where I’m talking about?"
Yes I know. There’s a very steep incline. “What?”
Now she’s laughing. “Yes. Mom. I was sooo embarrassed. I pulled the emergency brake and cut the car off and just sat there.”
Since laughter is contagious, I’m laughing too. The mental picture of her car sitting on the lawn pointing straight for courts nine and ten where tennis players are hitting…
“Everyone was there, Mom. Everyone saw.” She hides her face behind long fingers. “I swear. At that very moment,” she looks back up at me. “…I said to myself, ‘I would have rather fallen flat on my face while walking across the stage to get my diploma than have this happen.”
Her cell phone rings, she snatches it up and says, “Yeah, let me call you right back,” before sliding it shut.
“So where was I?”
“You just fell…while getting your diploma,” I joke.
“Yeah. Right. So, John comes up.” John is one of her teammates. He’s in his forties.
“He asks if I’m fine I say yes. And I’m shaking.” She demonstrates with her hands how visibly shaken up she was at the time.
“Then,” she continues. “Judy comes up.” Judy is another teammate. “And Randy.”
“Randy Dean?” I ask.
“Yes. Well, they all start talking, trying to figure out the best way to get my car out. AND, they’re telling me how it will be okay, sharing their stories of when they were my age and how they almost had huge car wrecks.”
Again, she tells me how embarrassed she was, how everyone knew. “Even Coach Hodge! And he was on court FIVE giving a lesson!”
After her match, she hooks up with Judy who hugs her and says to her, “Everyone’s probably forgotten all about it.”
No sooner are the words out of Judy’s mouth when two tennis players walk past. One saying to the other, “Did you see that car that went over the curb and almost into the fence by court nine?”
Judy looks at Laney and says, “Okay. Maybe it’s tomorrow they’ll forget about it.”