Friday, October 26, 2012

solace from the pain ......

It was a simple soccer ball that saved her life. Each night she would sneak out to the field, headphones on playing some variety of a mixed tape, sweats, shoes and a ball. That is all she needed.  She would run dribbling the soccer ball for hours with the music blaring in her ears. The pain that followed her day in and day out would melt away, at least while she ran with the ball. The sweat dripping from her face reflected each tear that she was too terrified to shed.


Stop, touch, pull ball back, turn around, slight kick and go again. The standard defense move to get away from another player. That was her release. She found solace from her emotional pain in the darkness of the night with just a ball. 

Each night she felt the breeze on her face, the sound of the wind swishing by her ears, the grass crumbling beneath her shoes and the feel of the rubber smacking the top of her foot. Somehow there was freedom in her motions. 

She ran quickly with the ball at her feet and the lake at her right. She wasn’t supposed to be out there in the middle of the night. She had to move swiftly so that she could get all of the pent of pain, fear and terror out of her veins before security would drive up and send her back to her dorm room. She was just a teen.

She knew that it was a risk each night, but it was a risk that she had to take. Without her nightly time in the dark with her ball, the bubbling horror stories in her head would continue to boil until she was not able to hold herself together during the day. Nobody was to know the demons that taunted every extraordinarily loud tick of the second hand. She must keep it all a secret. 

Stop, touch, pull ball back, turn around, slight kick and go again. The standard defense move to get away from another player. That was her release. She found solace from her emotional pain in the darkness of the night with just a ball. 

In those moments she was released from the divorces, the cries of her younger brother, the hurt her mother suffered and the absence of her father. She didn’t have to feel his hands on her when she was running, when she was kicking or when she was in the dark with her ball. She was without the fear of what happened if she told. She was far away from the smell of his sweat. The music drowned his laughter from her ears. She was free and she was safe. 

Stop, touch, pull ball back, turn around, slight kick and go again. The standard defense move to get around another player. That was her release. She found solace from her emotional pain in the darkness of the night with just a soccer ball. 

She was never certain if the hurt would stop or if she would truly be free, but that soccer ball provided as close to comfort as she could allow herself to feel. There were no threats during her time with the ball. She bled her emotions though each movement and kick to the ball. Most nights she was in fact caught. The security lady who resembled Humpty Dumpty in her own kind of way eventually just started giving the girl a warning that she had to hurry back to the dorm before the doors were locked. She never knew the girl had made a secret entrance by cutting a hole in one of the screens. It was almost as if the security lady knew that the girl needed to run. That she needed the darkness, the lake, the sweat, the music blaring and the ball eloquently moving from foot to foot. 

The girl kept running, kicking and sweating for years to come. She eventually grew to be an adult. As an adult, she can still find peace at the mere sight of a soccer ball. One look at the round and dirty object and she can feel the breeze on her face, the ground crunching beneath her feet, the glare from the moon on the lake and the rubber ball bouncing off one foot only to be caught by the other. 

Stop, touch, pull ball back, turn around, slight kick and go again. The standard defense move to get away from another player. That was her release. She found solace from her emotional pain in the darkness of the night with just a ball.

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