Daren sped across the basketball court as Carson High’s bulky players charged in his direction. He hesitated, his head spinning from the series of leaps and turns he’d employed to lead them across the court, and loosened his grip on the ball, as if defeated. Then he jumped.
The ball soared through the air. The crowd rose. Every breath stilled, lingering on the border between lungs and lips, as the seconds on the stop-clock flipped from two to one. Hitting the side of the rim, the ball bounced erratically, and whooshed into the net.
The crowd screamed, the third quarter buzzer sounded, and a hand slapped Daren across the back, rattling his ribs.
“Dude,” said Brad Dickson, “Did you not see me waving my arms?”
“I saw you.” Daren strolled to the water table, careful to avoid the corner where Marla Perkins and her fellow cheerleaders were launching into a series of acrobatic jumps. He could see her clearly in his mind, tan legs flashing below a purple and white skirt. Warm brown eyes. He tried not to think about the sound of her voice, and the fact
that their nightly conversations would soon be replaced by inescapable, crushing silence.
It always came to that. His mind wandered away from her and he fell to thinking of tan legs flashing below purple and white basketball shorts, and then to picturing those tan, muscular legs minus the shorts, then minus everything.
"Dude," he said, strolling back to Brad Dickson. "Screw the fourth quarter; let's hit the showers."
Opening: Chelsea.....Continuation: Paul Penna