by Tyler C.
A father and son briefly reconnect through a Cubs' game and train ride back.
They were back on the red line, Jim and his dad, in a car packed as per usual after a Cubs game. They'd seen 4 trains come and go as they had waited on the station, that's the problem with everyone leaving at once. His dad wasn't very patient and had done a lot of nudging and maneuvering to edge his way through the crowd. He had just followed along, neither one of them talking.
They had shown up separately for the game, meeting in front of the Ernie Banks' statue. Jim had been running late, coming from his art class, dressed in a flannel shirt and no Cubs' gear to speak of.
""5:30 means 5:30 Jim. What's the point of bleacher seats if you don't get here for batting practice? I told you that." His dad had been in front of the statue, Cubs' hat and jersey on, with 2 programs and another hat in his hands. "Here, I got you this, I knew you'd need it,' his dad said as he put the cap on Jim's head.
"Thanks," Jim said. He hadn't seen his dad for a couple of months, even though they were both in the city. Jim was taking classes at Columbia and his dad was busy with work, plus they didn't share a lot of interests. He was hoping the game would help spark something between them.
Sitting in the train after the game, Jim felt for the ball in his bag. Pulling it out, he showed it to his dad, who smiled and nodded, not saying anything. He ran it around in his hands a couple of times before putting it back in his bag, next to his new hat which was also in there.
It hadn't been a homerun that he had caught, but still he had gotten a ball. His dad had been right about showing up early for batting practice. All the ones actually going over the fence were directed over to left center, on the other side of the scoreboard from them. But he'd gotten lucky. One of the hits had rolled all the way to the wall, almost right in front of where he and his dad had been sitting. A relief pitcher, in the outfield for the sole purpose of shagging these hits had jogged over, looked up at Jim, and tossed it to him.
His dad had immediately clapped him on the back. "Told ya so," his dad had said. "It's not a homerun, but hey it's something."
That was all the excitement before the game, but things had gone well since. Jim had gone to get them hot dogs, loaded high with every possibility. His dad had come back later that inning with a beer for each of them and the napkins Jim had forgotten. The Cubs' had even won, topping the whole evening off.
But back on the train things had slipped back to what they were typically like with his dad. Neither one of them talking. His dad stood up, his stop was the next one, Jim had a couple more to go.
"I had fun tonight, maybe we can go again soon, if you can work around your classes," his dad said. With that he stepped out through the doors.
It hadn't been a homerun, but hey, it was something.