Friday, August 17, 2007

Red Sox or Wicked?

Ben and I went to the Red Sox game today.

I should have asked a friend, instead. I love my son, I do but before we left the house, I knew I was in trouble.

Ben came downstairs in red shorts, a red Coco Crisp shirt, and Reef flip-flops. He pointed all these items out to me.

I’m ready.

Okay, lets go.

He looked at me and said, That’s what you’re wearing?

I had on a gray tee shirt, jeans shorts and sneakers.

Uh… yeah?

Oh.

I changed my shirt to the traditional lesbian golf shirt.

Better? I asked him as we got into the car.

Whatever, he said, rolling his eyes.

We got to the game and the first thing had to be to choose some food. The game had already started and I was anxious to get to our seats. Not a chance. After perusing some of the options, he got some fries and a coke.

Want a hot dog?

Nope.

It’s Fenway Park! Sausage?

EW, no.

I had the sausage.

We got to the seats just in time. The Sox scored six runs in the first inning. Very exciting.

By the third inning? Ben wanted to leave.

This is so boring.

Ben? Why don’t you count how many people have on Red Sox shirts?

Oh my God, mom. That is so stupid.

Ben, it’s the third inning. There are nine innings. Settle down.

I need cotton candy to settle down.

YUH.

By the fifth inning? I was down getting him cotton candy. It did, in fact, entertain him for a brief period of time. Then there was the wave. Then a beach ball bounced through the stands. I think he spent about twenty minutes actually watching the field in the three hours we were there.

I think that guy needs plastic surgery, Ben said about one of the players pictures posted on the big screen.

The next batter up, for the opposing team, of course, he said needed to shave his eyebrows.

I mean, seriously. No one looks good with a bunch of fur over their eyes.

Seventh inning stretch. He won’t sing along but I’m sure to bellow out “Take me out to the Ballgame,” loudly enough for both of us. He does manage to crack a small smile.

Bottom of the seventh starts.

MOM. They already played the seventh inning.

Ben? I don’t know how to explain this but… no. They have not. And ... well… I can promise you that they would not make such a mistake at a professional game.

He folded his arms across his chest. He was certain they had played it already.

Eight inning and Sweet Caroline is blared. A tradition started about fifteen years ago, the fans all sing along to the song. As the first batter comes to the plate and the song has ceased playing on the PA, the fans continue to sing.

I sing. Ben frowns.

Papelbom comes out. The crowd goes wild. The Sox are ahead and we know the game is about to be won.

Is it over? Ben asks.

Almost, I tell him.

Finally, at the very end of the game, with the crowd on its feet, he comes around.

I bet it’s a pop fly to Coco Crisp, Ben said of the second to last batter.

Nah, he’s going to strike out, straight down the middle, I said.

Batter struck out.

Ben clapped. You should have bet me, Mom!

Last hitter? Pop fly to center field. Crisp caught it. Game won.

I was right! I was right! Ben was thrilled.

Walking back to the car I said, I know baseball isn’t really your thing but I do love spending time with you. Thanks for coming with me.

Oh, I liked it, he said. It was fun.

I’m not sure if it was the final few moments or that complaining was part of the entertainment for him. I’m glad he had a good time.

I have to find something to do with him, one on one, that fits his personality- his real personality. I know he goes to these things because he thinks he should like them. I know he doesn’t care about sports but when I ask? He’s downstairs in a flash, fashionably dressed.

Is it that he wants to spend time with me or that he’s hiding behind a façade of being a “real” boy? Over and over, he picks out things declaring he would never pick the other- it’s for girls. I feel his longing for the girl thing, like when we stood in line and he asked for the blue cotton candy instead of the pink.

Are you sure? I asked.

MOM, he said, looking at me as if I bared his soul to the cashier.

I thought it tasted better than the blue, I said.

He walked away and left me to pay by myself.

On the drive back, we passed a billboard for Wicked.

I loved that show, he sighed. We had seen it in New York City, as a family. It was simply the show we bought tickets for- he couldn’t say no.

Want to go again? I asked.

No, he said quickly.

I wish I could make this easier for him. I wish I could give him the words to be able to talk about it. I want to shield him from all the misery of middle school and high school. I want to save him from the pain and confusion.

I can’t.

But I can buy two tickets to see Wicked in Boston this November.

The next Sox game? I think I’ll take a friend to, instead.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Bil Browning said...

What a great story, Sarah. If I were close, I'd go to the game - the last time I went to a baseball game I probably around Ben's age and complained all the way through it too. The Cincinnati Reds stadium - I hadn't thought of that day for decades... Thanks.

10:29 PM  
Anonymous Donald Myer said...

Thanks for the story. It was great reliving it again. Sitting next to Ben throughout the game and hearing his comments made the game even more interesting. I remember as a very young boy being taken to Connie Mack stadium by my dad and uncle (ok, I know I am old!!!). I loved baseball, but all I could do was check out the crowd and everything that was going on. No giant scoreboards back then showing pictures of the players, just hords of people to watch. Now that I am an older gay man, it is nice to remember the times I got to spend with my dad when he was out of his element and relaxed. We didn't really get along throughout his life, but there were those special moments I still fondly remember. Ben will be fine! And of course, the guy did need to have his eye brows trimmed!! Thanks for sharing your story and lives with me. Now, just pray that I can get through dad's camp!!!

7:26 AM  
Blogger Shannon said...

This is a wonderful story, as all your stories are. I keep thinking about what makes a compelling narrative, and you are always the example that comes to mind. Thank you :)

3:56 PM  

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