The scene: a dozen teenagers, one middle aged man, and a young mother squat, set, and scamper around the thin-carpeted floor of a church’s rec room. A net divides the teams and a grayish volleyball pops like a kernel to and fro. Many of us have kicked off our Sunday shoes. The moon is bright through the window.
Penni spikes the ball over the net and scores us a point. She has the obvious advantage of the room, being part of her high school’s volleyball team. I stay close to my best friend so I can defer to her and save my forearms the red-hot sting of the game.
“Nice!” exclaims our leader, the fearless Rob. By day, he is a police officer. By night, he is a police officer in shorts and a t-shirt. He keeps one eye on the ball, one eye on the clock, and one eye on the two doors to the room.
Penni and her siblings are usually the first to leave. After that, the game breaks up and the rest of us shuffle around, gathering shoes and sweaters. My mother is often last to arrive, so I stay with Rob and his son to help clean the room. We put away the net and toss the ball back into the closet. Rob leaves to lock up, and his son and I share a shy smile and chat about school. In a year, we share our first kiss in the same room. For now we are just two freshman kids with the familiarity and awkwardness that comes from growing up together on a swim team.
The curtain closes on a Sunday evening, cold breeze spiked with pine and contentment, darkness cut with headlights.
Writing Prompt from Michelle W. at The Daily Post