Friday, October 3, 2008

Romance and the Red Sox (Part 4)

[Continued from page 3. This revised piece was originally written in 2004]

So I wait, impatient, desperate, with no control over the matter. Mercifully, I was granted a brief lunch with her in Harvard Square this past Thursday. It had been over two weeks since our first date, and despite its success, much of the momentum had dissipated, at least in my mind. My anxious desire to make a good “first” impression had been entirely renewed, except that now, I had less than an hour to do it, and it would likely be my last opportunity for another few weeks.

I entered into this lunch with a handicap far greater than anxiety or limited time however, namely, a private and profound sense of guilt. The Sox had lost their first two games to the Yankees, and I wondered whether I wasn’t responsible. There was dark, deep wish inside of me so evil I feared it might have the power to alter air currents surrounding a pitch, or affect an umpire's critical thinking. Part of me wanted my team to lose, wanted the Yankees to sweep them even, so that all of Boston, and I especially, could get on with our lives.

No man should have to bear the burden of such sin, especially not on an important date.

We met at the subway kiosk, and within a minute of walking to our lunch stop, she said she had something to show me. Reaching into her pocketbook she produced a thin, colorful strip of cardboard. My heart sank. ALCS, Game Four, Fenway Park. “A tip last night from one of my regulars,” she said (I told you everyone loves her). I stared hard at the ticket, desperate to avoid notice of her beaming face. Of course, I told her that I was so, so happy for her, and I was, but I wept inwardly, knowing that any impression I made that day would be overwhelmed by her anticipation of the game the following night.

I tried to smother my despair with a Bartley's burger and frappe, but they only weighed on me further. She was as gracious as one could be under the circumstances. I smiled, let her change the subject back to the game whenever the urge overtook her, sympathizing. I tried my best but in the end, my best was not to jeopardize a chance for a third date, however deep in the distant future it might be. Through no fault of hers or mine, I’d become just another passing hour that brought her closer to Red Sox euphoria.

It's not fair, but I know that life isn't fair. I have moments of rationale, when the right course is clear. I must remain patient and wait, take nothing personally, and enjoy watching the Red Sox make history in the meantime. Soon enough, win or lose, this season will end, Beantown will experience another return to normalcy, and Cupid will leave Fenway, sober up, and continue where he left off, tending to the newly christened, hopeless romantics he's left neglected the past few weeks.

Perhaps for some of these blossoming relationships a unique prospect lies ahead, the promise of standing alongside a loved one, arms wrapped around waists, free hands holding five-dollar domestic drafts, sharing in cheers and jeers hurtled from the bleachers. These privileged few may find they have unwittingly negotiated a blissful ménage a trois, one that trumps those found at Midwestern college campuses or even filthy European hostels, a rapture that unfolds only in the plush red velvet bedroom of old Boston town.

Part [1] [2] [3] [4]

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