It’s a cold and rainy morning Sunday when I wake up early for a field hockey tournament at Rowan. Courtney asked me months ago if I wanted to play. My flight isn’t until 5pm so I excitedly told her yes? It’s been such beautiful weather all week so I’m really bummed it’s crappy out today. Although, I guess it’s a good day to go back to California!
Sarah’s at the house when I wake up, and Janice picks us up shortly after. I’m playing on a team with mostly former coaches and players from West Deptford. It’s nice to see everyone and I’m excited to play (really not excited about the weather). As we walk on the field, we pass all the other teams stretching and getting ready to play and…wait, there’s Allie! Allieeeee! “Lindsayyyyyyy!” We scream and and hug and laugh, surprised that we’re both here – probably extremely obnoxious to everyone around us. When I walk back to my team I make a comment that our big hello was probably annoying. “Yea, it was.” (Sarah, obviously.)
Allie told me Bridget and her sister are here, too, so after our first two games we’re up against Bridget’s team and I get the chance to give her a big hug hello. Bridget cracks me up. “Stets! Hi! How’s California?” And then, it’s like we see each other every day and she just starts rambling on about anything and everything. She always speaks passionately, and starts everything with, “Stets,…”
It rains throughout the entire 3-hour tournament, but we still have fun and my team only loses one game. (I’m pretty pissed off about that, but I’m not exactly playing my best hockey.) Our last game is against Allie’s team, and we’re up against each other so we kind of just start talking the whole time. We beat them – not that it’s important – just thought I’d add that.
No one really wants to hang out afterwards because we’re all wet and cold. We don’t really find out who won the tournament, so I decide we did. Actually, I’m pretty sure two other teams tied with us, but whatever. I get a picture with Allie and Bridget and Bridget starts talking about visiting California. “I want to plan a trip to California. I need someone to come with me. Allie do you want to? No, seriously, like, I want to start planning it.” Allie just kind of nods and looks at Bridget with big eyes. I almost think Bridget is going to start searching for flights right here in the parking lot.
It’s after 12 when I get home, leaving me less than three hours to shower, eat, do laundry, finish packing, and still have time to swing by Mandy’s baby shower. I don’t have time. I don’t even have time to get sad about leaving, so there’s a plus. Laundry is still going and I have to go to Mandy’s now. Chris, can I borrow some pants? Mine are in the laundry. “What kind of pants?” Just pants. I need pants. She finds me a pair. They’re too short. I complain. OK, I’m leaving. Pull up to the fire hall and run through the pouring rain into the building. There’s a lot of people here. All I see are people. I don’t recognize anyone yet. Oh, there’s Mandy, opening presents. Maria and Mrs. Manfre are sitting up front so I go over to them. Everyone is dressed up and looking nice. I just stroll in wearing a hoodie, pants, and sneakers.
Maria wants to see Mandy open her gift before I leave, so I basically feel like I’m cutting in line to give Mandy her present. Hey Mandy. “Hey Lindsay… you look nice.” She is such a brat. Mrs. asks if I want to sit down and eat something. I wish I could stay, especially since there’s a lot of people here I haven’t seen in a while, but there’s no time. She can’t help herself, though, as she wraps some food up for me to take on the plane. As I’m getting ready to leave, Mrs. stops me to introduce me to her friend. I hate the excuse, ‘I’m bad with names’, but I can’t remember this lady’s name. Anyway, she reads my blog. She’s the first person I’ve met who reads my blog without ever having known me. It’s weirdly awesome. We talk briefly and she’s very nice. I tell her that right now all I can really think about is the flight back because I hate flying. “Do you want to take a valium? I have them if you do.” Umm. I look at Mrs. and then back at her friend. We should probably know each other a bit more before we start exchanging drugs. I’d be lying if I wasn’t slightly tempted, but no, thank you, I appreciate it. I’ll be fine.
Back out into the pouring rain to hurry home. Mom has packed my suitcase for me, thank God. I never know how she fits everything in here. It’s like she does it Mary Poppins style. I’m very forgetful, so I try to think of everything I need and hope it’s all in there. Say bye to Christine, then Mom and Dad drive me to the airport. When I hug them goodbye, I don’t have to try as hard not to get upset. I don’t know if it’s just because I’m nervous about flying, or if I’m OK with going back to California.
The flight home isn’t as bad – mostly because I sleep the whole time. And because I have two glasses of wine with dinner on my layover. I write in between bites, and the server – an older man – asks me when I close out if I’m a writer. I think for a second, smiling to myself. Yes, I am. Sure, I am, why not?