Friday, March 11, 2011
Teammates, Tacos, & Tears
It is 3 p.m. on a Sunday, and I am salting my taco shells with messy tears.
Cho fiddles with her napkin. Amyn stares at her burrito. I know she’s disgusted by the burgundy colored sauce on her plate. Amyn doesn’t like anything vegetarian or of unknown origins.
I am blubbering. I can’t form a complete sentence. I just…I just never thought…thought I was important…
9, you’re going to make me cry, Amyn says. Stop it right now.
Cho dabs the corner of her eyes with her napkin. I still see the imprint of her signature eye-makeup from the bout yesterday.
We have only been back in Auburn for an hour. I haven’t showered, and I am not hungry. I don't want to be having this conversation. I want to be asleep in bed, forgetting that the Mobile bout ever happened.
I want to forget that Amyn, the captain, got ejected. I want to forget that I, 9 lb Hammer, the alternate, was ejected moments later for repeatedly punching a girl in the face. I want to forget that Amyn and I left our team on the floor without anyone who could communicate with the referees. I wanted to forget that in a moment of self-defense and rage, I let down my team.
I want to forget that Cho said that she wasn’t angry with me; she was just disappointed. I think I would rather my grandmother be disappointed in me.
It’s just that…that I’m not you, Cho, I say. I am still crying like a motherless kitten. I’m not a super fast jammer. I’m not you, Amyn. I’m not an amazing blocker with lots of finesse. I didn’t think that getting ejected would matter so much.
Amyn turns toward me. 9. You are there. You are always there. I know that I can always count on you. Stop it with this “I’m just a relief jammer” bullshit. You are always, always where you need to be. Always. I cannot say that about anyone else.
Cho, Amyn, and I are the only three BCR original gangsters left. The others have relocated, quit, or moved on. Some started with us, quit, and thankfully returned.
When I went to the very first practice two and a half years ago, I had no idea that I would be sitting here with these two girls that I once thought I had nothing in common with. I didn’t know that I could be close to a mother of two who loves the Twilight series. I didn’t know that I could be close to a girl assertive enough to start a derby team and organize all her files in oversized folders. Now I can’t imagine my life without them.
You know I can’t be mad at you guys, Cho says. I love you both too much.
Goddamit, I say as I rifle through my purse.
You lost your debit card, didn’t you? Amyn asks.
How did you know? I ask. The debit card was probably glued with my mouth guard on the skuzzy Mobile rink floor, or maybe the maid at the La Quinta was having herself a shopping spree at the local K-Mart. At this point, it was hard to say.
Because you’re 9. You lose your shit all the time. You’re worse than my kids and their toys.
Cho nods. Oh, 9. I’m going to let you borrow this book I have about organization.
Amyn rolls her eyes. Let’s get out of here and get some sleep. 9, I’ll pay for your damn tacos. Let’s go.
In the parking lot, Cho, Amyn, and I hug one another. We smell like body odor and burnt ground beef.
At this point in my life, I wouldn’t have it any other way.