Kasey Hill – Author & Poet
“Get out of the way!”
Sarah whipped around just in time to back into the lockers as one of the jocks ran through the hall. He was tailed by four others. The one who yelled looked back at her for a split second grinned and kept running. A teacher popped out of a room telling them to slow down and quit running as they rounded the corner of the hall. Sarah rolled her eyes. She was used to this display of complete idiocy. She had been going to school with them since elementary school and the shenanigans just kept doubling.
“Football tryouts are in a couple days.”
She laughed as she turned to face the voice.
“Really, Adam? Football?” she asked shaking her head.
“You know you would be perfect for the team. They need brains added to the bench,” Adam said chuckling.
“I put up with the meatheads enough in gym class,” she said as she shut her locker and gathered the books she would need for homework.
“You know this school and town needs a new scandal,” Adam said as he walked with her towards the front doors of the school.
School had only been in session a couple of days but Sarah chose to take advanced placement courses this semester. That means she has homework galore and no time for distractions. The jock heads had made their way back around the building whooping and hollering.
“Yo, Adam, what’s up my man?” Jared asked as he gave Adam a high five.
Jared was the ringleader of the flying monkeys. He thought the world revolved around him and the only person who didn’t see it this way was Sarah. He looked over at her.
“Hey, Sarah, sorry about earlier,” he said smiling.
She was disgusted with his smile. He thought he could win anyone over with it and that was so not the case. There was once a time when she would melt into his smile but not anymore.
“Adam, I’m going to go,” she said leaving the group of boys behind.
“Alright, see ya later,” Adam called after her.
“Nice talking,” Jared yelled sarcastically. He looked to Adam, “Dude, why can’t I crack her?”
“Did you ever think it’s because your next door neighbors so she sees your bullshit every day?” Adam said back laughing.
“Man, I could so punch you right now,” Jared said laughing back. “So, what’s the down low? Have you heard from anyone who might be trying out for the team this year?” he asked taking out a pen and pad to jot down tips for the coach.
“There’s an exchange student who is pretty fit and can kick a ball like a cow kicking in your dome,” Adam said pulling out his own paper he had written on.
“Anyone else?” Jared asked.
“Yea, a transfer student from Mississippi, built like a shit brick house and apparently played AAA football down there so definitely a keeper,” Adam said winking.
“Alright excellent! Anymore?” Jared asked as he jotted down on the paper what Adam was telling him.
“You’re going to laugh,” Adam said looking down at the paper folding it back up and shoving it in his pocket.
“What?” Jared asked.
“Well, I been trying to talk one person into trying out,” Adam started.
“Who?” Jared asked leaning up against the locker waiting for the name drop.
“Well, you’ve known them for a long time,” Adam said.
“Just tell me the name please and stop beating around the bush,” Jared said getting annoyed.
“Sarah,” Adam said with a serious look on his face.
“Sarah!” Jared laughed. He quickly stopped, “You’re not joking. Adam, we can’t put a girl on the team. We will be ridiculed.”
“She’s really good!” Adam protested. “She’s the fastest runner in the school, she has an arm like a cannon and remember last year while playing softball? She caught that ball without a mitt jumping up in midair. She would be stellar!”
“If she took a hit, she would go down and not get back up,” Jared said with the most serious and protective tone.
“IF she took a hit. They would have to catch her first,” Adam said catching onto his words.
Jared stood there thinking about it.
“I’d have to run it by coach first. It’s not the best idea in the world you know,” Jared said walking towards the exit doors with Adam.
“I don’t think ya’ll would be disappointed,” Adam said smiling.
“Does she want to try out?” Jared asked
“That’s MY next step. We were talking about it before you strolled back up,” Adam said as they walked down the steps and into the student parking lot. “Why don’t you talk to her when you get home about it?” Adam said grinning slyly.
“Are you kidding? We haven’t spoken since middle school in an actual conversation. I don’t know what I did but it’s like she hates me,” Jared said stopping at his car.
“Maybe it’s not hate,” Adam said pointing at him as he walked to his car. “See ya later,” he said jumping in his car.
“Yea, see ya later,” Jared said as he processed everything they had been talking about.
A long time ago, Sarah and he were the best of friends. They were next door neighbors so of course they grew up close. He did everything to protect her. He beat up an older kid that had pushed her down after they had won a game of kickball. He got in trouble of course and grounded. That night he heard the familiar tap of rocks hitting his window. He walked to it and smiled. She was down there waiting for him to crawl out his window so they could go to the tree house and spend the night. His parents always knew he snuck out even when he was grounded, but they didn’t care. It was Sarah.
Middle school rolled around and Jared started playing football. Sarah helped him practice at home and she was good at it. The first football game was lost. Sarah showed up at his doorstep with an ice cream cone and they walked the block eating and talking about everything but the game.
“You know, winning isn’t important,” she said looking over at him.
“Yea, I know,” he grumbled.
“Do you?” she asked stopping.
He looked over at her and smiled, “Yea, I do.”
They made it back to their driveways and was saying goodnight as she leaned in and gave him a kiss on the cheek.
“No matter if you win or lose a game, you’re always a winner to me,” she said smiling as she walked backward to her house.
He couldn’t say anything. He was surprised and happy. He waited by his locker the next as he usually did for Sarah so he could walk her to her mom’s car and then go to practice.
He wheeled around to see Cindy walking up to him. She was the most popular girl in school and was very pretty.
“Hey, Cindy,” he said smiling at her.
“I wanted to tell you, you played a good game last night,” she said smiling and rubbing his hair.
He blushed, “Well, we didn’t win.”
“You came close though,” she said moving herself closer to him. “How about I give you my number and we talk about the game tonight over ice cream,” she said as she wrote her number down on the palm of his hand.
He smiled a crooked, smitten grin, “Sounds good.”
“Great!” she said cheerfully and planted a kiss square on his lips.
Sarah had rounded the corner right at that moment and saw the two lip locked. He looked up just as she turned around and walked away.
“Sarah!” he called to her but she kept walking.
The last bell rang for the end of the day. He had football practice so wouldn’t see Sarah until later that evening. When he got home, he ran next door and knocked on the door. Sarah’s mom answered.
“Hey, Jared, how was practice today?” she asked smiling at him.
“It was intense,” he said smiling back. “Umm, can I talk to Sarah?”
“Sarah isn’t feeling well. She went to bed early tonight. Sorry, sweetie,” she said as he stepped off the porch and she closed the door.
He looked up to her bedroom window just to see her curtain fall back into place. He went on his date with Cindy and they started dating. Sarah was always busy when he went over to her house. They slowly drifted apart from being friends to where they didn’t even acknowledge each other in the hallways at school.
Jared jumped in his car and drove home. He put the car in park and climbed out of the driver’s door and glanced up to Sarah’s room just as the curtain fell back into place. He got a wild urge and acted on it. He walked over to the lattice on this side of the house and climbed it up to the balcony beside her window. HE hoisted himself over the railing and knocked on the balcony door.
Sarah opened it annoyed, “What are you doing, Jared?”
“I came to talk to you,” Jared said walking away from the balcony’s railing and closer to her.
“What do you want?” she asked exasperated.
“Adam said you might try out for the team,” Jared said fiddling with a string on his shirt.
“Adam will say anything to please you,” she said rolling her eyes.
“Well, are you? I don’t think it’s a good idea,” Jared said crossing his arms and changing his tone of voice.
“And who are you? The football police? If I want to try out, I will,” she said crossing her arms back in response.
“You don’t realize you could get hurt. It’s not like horseplay. It’s not like how we used to play. When you get tackled, you go down hard,” he said as serious as he could.
“Well, we will see what I choose to do,” she said not budging. “Now, if you don’t mind, will you remove yourself from my balcony? I have homework to finish,” she said walking back inside her room and shutting the door. She watched as he climbed over the railing and back down the lattice and over to his yard. She sent Adam a text: Tryouts are in the bag.