December 3 – Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors).
There are two moment from this year, but only one both makes me smile and inflames an ache in my heart. Isn’t it weird how those two emotions can exist side-by-side?
The tickets came from a mutual friend of mine and Jun’s, who got the tickets from a friend of his visiting Chicago without time to see the game.
So the four of us grabbed a ride on the shuttle to Wrigley Field and headed downtown. The bus was just like I remembered from years of college in Chicago - slightly grimy, uneven, and crowded. Our feet rocked back and forth against the seats. The ride took close to 45 minutes, depositing us just outside the park.
An hour before the game started, and the cross-streets were already swarming with fans - fathers and mothers with children, guys out with friends, girls ready to enjoy the game. Vendors operated out of stalls, metal displays holding t-shirts and ball caps and collectibles.
I remember walking into the park with my printed ticket and walking around the covered path, reading numbers and rows and wondering when - if - we would ever find our seats. The last time I’d been to Wrigley, I was on a field trip with the rest of my 5th grade class, and expected the park to feel smaller, a result of that shrinking perspective that comes with revisiting a place when grown. But as we made our way through, reading those white numbers, I could imagine myself being swallowed by the thick stream of baseball fans, a permanent member of the multi-colored snake.
Maybe we knew how lucky we were when we got to our row and there was someone there checking tickets. Or when we reached the top of the ramp and were asked to show them again.
But when we found our seats and looked up, that green jewel of a field was close enough to touch.
I’ve never experienced a game like it. Before it started, I ventured up to the brick wall separating us, the fans, from the visiting team - so close, I could read the stitched words on their caps - until security directed us all back to our seats. In a row five, we could smell the grass, the anticipation, each strike and hit.
I ate hot dogs, drank a melting strawberry daiquiri (“You have to try one, they’re awesome here!”), sang at the 7th Inning Stretch.
And when the last inning brought around our turn, when the score was tied, when the ball began to fly through the air - we collectively held our breath -
And shot up into the air as that hit was made and runs were completed and OH MY GOD, WE JUST WON!
I get tingles just thinking about it.
But I remember my friends the most, those closest friends who know me more than anyone, who get my sense of humor, who challenge me and entertain me. Those four faces smiling for the camera that are now scattered like seeds on the wind, planted far and wide.
We’ll always have that sunny, perfect ballgame.
It's almost perfect that this was today's prompt - I almost gave up, feeling I wouldn't be able to do the memory justice. But any writing is more than none, and I kept going, picked that netbook up again, wrote the words, and now am smiling as I cry & remember that amazing day and the girls I chose to spend it with.