After the game, I sat in one of the warm rectangles of sun cast out from the afternoon
window. I felt the warmth of it settle in my hair and soak eagerly into my dress.
And though I’d been hot from playing, the feeling of it was so tender that I stayed,
and was surprised as he came to sit in the chair in the corner nearest me. Suddenly I was
aware of the short, unobstructed distance between us, of the glow of my sunlit hair and
how soothing the sun felt on my neck. I couldn’t tell if he ever glanced at me straight on
or if my shape merely danced in his peripheral but I knew I felt very beautiful then,
enshrined in light and the black drapery of my thin dress. We watched the first scene,
after which he stood to instruct the actors in their adjustments and crossed the room a
bit so that he stood in front of me and I had to look almost directly up to see his face.
I had not looked at him this closely in weeks, but everything was in its perfect order-
tanned skin on a sharp cheek, proud nose, glass-blue eyes set deep, like caverns
of ice, and the crooked mouth, a thin, mythical cavern in its own right that I longed to substantiate.
Sometimes this life is like performing a monologue for one person and one person only,
even if they aren’t in the theater. Even if you’re not sure when they’ll be back, or if
at all. The first time we played this game I remember with vivid color, because
I'd felt him come striding back into the theater in which I was performing the play of
my life for his viewing pleasure. We had gone outside and my hair was long then.
I felt it flame up in the sunshine, felt the springy, green ground beneath my feet.
And it was as if he’d never seen a girl outside before. Never seen one of us leap up
like a deer to snag a catch or run hard for an interception, panting and laughing.
I nailed poor Andrew for a hard tackle and left his awkward body sprawled on the ground
while I rose from the wreckage, bird-like, and sailed a clean throw back to my solitary
audience member, him gazing with an odd stillness at my grass stains and the dry blades
stuck in my hair. Since then we’ve been partners in this partnerless game, sometimes
on the pretense of him instructing my throw, but whenever we play I feel my audience
settle back into his old seat, and the performance presses on with a new watched grace.