“Nobody owns life, but anyone who can pick up a frying pan owns death.”
― William S. Burroughs
Down at the end of our block is a big park with ponds, softball diamonds, woods, and a picnic area. Next to it is a tennis center, and past that, an area that the city has built up for horseshoe pitching tournaments… (yes, really).
Especially on windy days, tennis balls from the center get blown over the fence and the people there are lazy about fetching them.
The ones that fall toward the street are picked up by people walking in the area and when they get to the trail in back of our house they throw them over the fence for our dog, Isaak. He is completely obsessed with tennis balls. He pushes them through gaps in the iron fence for the walkers to throw back.
With the isolation, however, not enough people are picking them up and Isaak’s collection is getting ratty.
So, driving by, I noticed about a dozen tennis balls spread around in the horseshoe area. They sat there for a week – through a couple of rainstorms – so I knew nobody wanted them. Except I knew Isaak wanted them.
One of the bad things about getting old (one of the many many things) is that you can’t climb over fences anymore. It’s weird – in your head you can scramble up, over, and down like you did when you were twelve, but when you try it all you get is pain, embarrassment, and injury.
But I thought of all those balls going to waste in that horseshoe area and decided to walk down there and climb that damn fence. It turns out that the gate is lower than it looks and by standing on tiptoes I could sort of step over – easy peasy.
So now, every day for a week or so – Isaak gets a new bright yellow tennis ball. They are a little damp and not very bouncy – but he doesn’t mind. He gets all excited and walks around with the new ball in his mouth – showing off to all the people that walk by.
Today – A heartbreaking flash fiction about mothers and their children.