turtle.jpgI am sitting in the dark, on the floor of my bedroom. My back is to the footboard of our bed. This is a peaceful night, though it has not been the most peaceful day. Rain came and brought with it the gloom I've been luxuriously without for weeks.

We had every intention of rising this morning, showering and heading to church. There we hoped to see and smile at all the people we know and love. After that, I thought, we would head out and meet my brother and his wife for lunch. She's expecting, you know. I'm going to be an aunt. Jon is going to be an uncle.

The other night we discussed this at length, how odd it is to be given a new title without making any effort at all. Shouldn't one have to meet a series of qualifications before being allowed into such a position? Apparently not. After a while we were having a wonderful time remembering the nice things our aunts and uncles have done for us in the past. Fond memories. Ted and Heather have chosen some names already, potential ones that I'm sure could change, but they know which one has my vote. We talked about how cute the children of Jon's cousins are. And then... Jon brought me my birth control.

Better safe than sorry, I suppose.

Anyway, we never quite got to church. I move in slow motion when the rains come. And, frankly, Jon doesn't want to move at all. Besides, we had tons to do today. Most of it even got done, miraculously.

Between homework and chores and games of Gin, my mood has swayed from euphoria to misery to ambivalence to disgust several times. And I don't know why. I'll blame it on the stress of school coming to a close, playing catch-up on homework after my trip to San Diego last weekend. Mostly, though, it's hard to pin this on anything besides the one common denominator.

Me.

Tonight a hot bath seemed to help. But I have three pages more to write before bedtime, and I can barely keep my eyes open. Jon is taking this opportunity to watch X-Files in the other room. I can hear it through the door and it still scares me. Spooky. Boy am I a case, huh?

Maybe it's the cabin fever. Being cooped up indoors on a May weekend is no fun at all. And the Open House Jon and I had planned to go to after church today turned out to be a big flop. For dinner I had chicken and corn chowder at Quiznos, which I would highly recommend, but I ate too much of it. Couldn't help it. Too good.

That's me, too. No self control. I want to eat good food, but I don't tell myself to stop in time to avoid a stomach ache. I want to exercise, but I don't tell myself to go before it gets too late. I want to be done with school, but I have so much homework and busywork left to complete before that's a reality. I wish there were a few more hours in teh day. Or that this week was finals week. Or that I'd graduated a year ago. As long as I'm wishing for stuff...

This feels like I'm complaining a lot. I'm not. My house is cleaner than it's been in a while. Thanks for the most part to my husband. And the calliber of writing I must read and critique for my fiction class continues to improve with each set of stories. I only have nine more drives to Davis, including the big day. And my shampoo smells GREAT.

I think I just need a vacation, but doesn't everybody? My graduation announcements are going out this week. Hooray! Definitely something to look forward to. In the meantime, I guess I'll post this blog. Getting that done after more than a week of nothing feels pretty good. An accomplishment even in the midst of my lethargy. Now that's helpful.

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babe.jpg"My stepdad's gonna kill me! It was his ball."

"So?"

"So, some lady signed it."

"Okay, Smalls, this is important. What was her name?"

"I dunno. Ruth. Baby Ruth."

"Babe Ruth?! Ahhhhhhhhhh!"

In 1993, Benny "the Jet" Rodriguez got a lesson from his idol. Heroes get remembered, but legends never die. How cool do you have to be to say something like that? As cool as Babe Ruth, the Legend himself.

Because our father was and is a huge fan of baseball, my brothers and I grew up knowing all about the Sultan of Swat (and his buddy, my personal favorite, Lou Gehrig). Dad's Murderer's Row t-shirt got passed down as pajamas through all of us, and I'm pretty sure I cried the day it got shredded to be used as cleaning rags.

Anyway, even as I admit I could probably fit all that I know about baseball and homerun records on the head of a pin (I was Big Mac's biggest fan during his race... man, was that really eight years ago?), I understand the ambivalence which fans of America's favorite pasttime are currently feeling toward Barry Bonds.

A gentleman on the news tonight really summed it up for me when he said, "[Bonds] was probably the best in the game before he decided to resort to steroids. It's actually kind of sad." And it is sad. Baseball is a game, a sport, a pasttime. It's not life or death. It's not worth cheating to get to the top.

The Babe set the bar and athletes today can't touch it without drugging themselves, bulking up like animals (and I think I can reasonably say that McGuire isn't to be left out of either category). That's what bothers me. Hank Aaron got death threats for being a black man chasing the record... Barry Bonds shoots up and we're all supposed to look the other way.

I could watch Field of Dreams over and over again, listening to James Earl Jones speak deep and slow about the best game in our history, smelling the grass, eating the hot dogs. "People will come, Ray. People will most definitely come." Or, Pride of the Yankees... "Today, I consider myself... the luckiest man... on the face of the earth." Or, A League of Their Own... "Are you crying? There's no crying in baseball!"

And to me, that's what baseball is, fun and idealism. Something that involves hotdogs and honor and absolutely no crying. My brother, Ted, caught a foul ball at an A's game four years ago... and it remains to be one of our happiest pictures together as a family, Mom, Dad, Ted, Curt and me. I remember the sparkle of the fireworks that night as we all sat on the field and stared straight up, watching the heavens reaching for us. Beautiful. Perfect. Family.

So, I wish, I wish, I wish that people (hey Barry, that means you) would think about what the game of baseball meant to people in decades past... and then play accordingly. The incredibly gifted athletes who dominate now might just squeeze a bit more enjoyment out of play time if they were brightening the days and months and Springtimes of happy-go-lucky fans nationwide.

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Night pours down
dripping dark off the steeple
and running shadowy rivulets
in the rain gutters on the sloped roof.

But a deep river of brightness
floods the walk, and shadowy beings hurry in,
tripping to the sound of music, toward hope,
and always two by two.

Inside it is all light
hearty air and good folks, laughing about life,
patting one another on the back.
Each one is loving his neighbor.

Reverence and high notes
issue from pink lips, the mouths of working women.
They hold the heavy psalms, in blue-backed books,
tight between capable fingers.

Here the pews are cushioned, and
the air conditioning rushes up between the aisles,
up under the pretty floral skirts
of the parishioners, mothers and wives.

And the good old words from
that good old book, spoken by the good old people
of this good old town, lift me by my
deep red heartstrings.

night church.jpg

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The Girl Behind The Red Door

Audrey Camp

Audrey Camp is an American expat and freelance writer living in Oslo, Norway with her husband. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Lesley University in Cambridge, MA in 2012. Her essays have appeared in Forge and Foliate Oak Literary Magazine.