Just ahead is the field. I walk, head down, anticipating time will drag.
I sit on aluminum bleachers, surrounded by mosquitoes, gymnastic squirrels,
and people’s dogs. I’m here for my son, crouching behind home plate,
wiggling fingers to the pitcher, his very handsome face protected by a
caged mask. My son. He is why s-u-n and s-o-n are homonyms.
I greet other fans, then dissolve into the book I’ve brought.
I sit between the third corner and home, absorbed in Dan Brown’s
words at this game. No idea what the score is. Don’t know who
the opposing team is. Can’t pretend to root for someone else’s son.
I’ll watch when my son is at bat and when he walks to position
between innings. My husband says, “Michael is up.”
I hold my page and watch his familiar batting stance.
The intensity on his face. I say the “Our Father.” I imagine
that Jesus Christ Himself is standing beside him and say
“Jesus, please swing the bat with him.” The image of Jesus
in flowing robes standing beside the batter’s box at Disbrow
Park isn’t strange to me. I imagine that every time my son is up.
I say again, “Jesus, please swing the bat with him.” I know
there are cancers to cure, crime and carnage to correct, and at
this moment, I don’t care. I don’t care that people in countries
with names I can’t spell don’t have clean drinking water.
My son is up. My heart pounds. I grip my book more tightly.
I pray in a loop. A hit is such a small request.
“Jesus, please swing the bat with him.”
I hear the ching of the aluminum bat. A double. I watch him
round the corners, stopping at second. I tell Jesus, “Thank you.”
I breathe again. I return to my book.
And each time my son is at bat, I’ll close my book, focus on him,
pray. The emotional effort is almost painful. The intense concentration
gives me a headache. I feel his hits and misses to my very core,
a symptom of unmeasurable love.
Postgame, my son asks, “Did you see how hard I hit that?
It was a bomb, right in the gap.”
“No, I was watching you, not the ball.”
“Why would you watch me run? You’re supposed to watch the ball.”
He explains why I was watching the wrong thing, but I saw
exactly what I wanted to see.