Squire’s Isle Created by Geonn Cannon

After The Game


The stadium lights were still on, reflecting off the now-empty stands and making the green diamond look bleached white. From a distance it looked like some bizarre spaceship settled in the middle of a quiet, sleeping town. Kate Price was one of the last players to leave the stadium, following Jill Hood-Colby from the lockers. They were both still in their uniforms; most of the team preferred to change and shower once they got home. Before they parted ways, Kate reached out and tapped her glove against Jill’s arm. “Good game.”

“Yeah, you too,” Jill said. “You know, even though we lost, those guys aren’t going home until tomorrow. That’s hotel rooms and celebratory dinners and drinks. We’re helping the island’s economy.”

Kate smiled. “That’s a good attitude. I’ll see you next time.”

“Next time,” Jill said, waving as she walked to her car. “You need a ride?”

“No, it’s barely a mile. I’ll walk.” She waved goodbye to Jill as she walked south out of the parking lot. She had her cleats in a bag slung over her shoulder, having changed into sneakers in anticipation of her walk home. Her bat was sticking from the open zipper of the bag, and it swung behind her as she followed the sidewalk toward the harbor. Instead of going straight, she took a slight detour to the south and walked in front of the Blair Idyll Apartments.

She paused and looked at the two windows that had once meant ‘home’ to her. On the second floor was her apartment, and on the ground floor had been Nadine’s. Both were occupied by other people now; the light in Nadine’s old apartment was on, and she could see movement through the curtains.

Kate shifted the strap of her bag against her shoulder and started walking again, tilting her head to look at the stars as her shoes scuffed the pavement. A few stores were still open on Spring Street, mainly the grocery store and a few restaurants waiting out their final customers of the night. The streetlights glowed yellow and white, and she moved from their bright glow to shadow and back into the light again.

Coffee Table Books was dark, save for a few lights that were always kept on behind the counter. It gave the place a closed, but not abandoned, feel. Kate walked past the store to her apartment, fishing the key out of her pocket and quietly letting herself inside. She put her bag down beside the couch and locked the door again behind her. She turned on a lamp and went into the kitchen, rolling her shoulders and working out the kinks.

There was a covered dish on the top shelf, with a folded piece of paper with her name written on it. She lifted the note and saw Amy’s precise handwriting: “Everyone else in this town pays me to make food for them!” She chuckled and took the dish to the microwave. It was macaroni and cheese with cut-up hot dogs and peas. Or, as Amy called it, Mac-Cheese-Weinies-Peas. It was her specialty, and Kate’s favorite. She warmed it up and carried the bowl to the counter.

While she ate, one elbow bent on the counter, she thought about the story she had due at the paper. It was mostly done; she just had to polish it up in her notebook and then type it up. She could have it ready by lunchtime tomorrow. She looked around the living room and, not for the first time, marveled at the life she had now.

Just barely three years ago, she’d been content in her relationship with Nadine. It wasn’t going anywhere long-term, but neither of them really worried about it. What they had was fun, and there was nothing wrong with having some fun. That all changed when Nadine came out. Kate looked down at her food, still ashamed at what she’d done in the aftermath. She still remembered crying all day and curling up on the couch with a bottle of pills. She’d never consciously made the admission she was trying to kill herself; she was just trying to make the pain go away as efficiently as possible.

Looking back on it, she was surprised to see that she had essentially succeeded. Since that day she’d been at peace. She had a woman she loved, and who loved her in return. Nadine was married, a fact that still blew her away. And they were still friends. That was the most important part to her. She and Nadine were always better friends than they were lovers.

Kate finished her dinner and put the bowl into the sink. She turned off the lamp and went down the short hall to their bathroom. She took off her uniform and put it in the hamper, pinning her hair up before she stepped into the shower. She only stayed in long enough to wash the sweat off her body, putting off a full shower to the morning. She was exhausted, and tired from the game, and she just wanted to crawl into bed and pass out.

She soaped up her hands and thought about her long, solitary walk through town and her dinner in the kitchen. It was just so quiet and isolated. She wanted to hear about Amy’s day while she ate. She wanted to feel Amy’s palm against hers while they walked down the street. Kate never liked to window shop, but Amy rarely passed a shop without at least glancing inside. At some point, half of Kate’s existence had been permanently usurped by Amy’s presence. It was like cell phones, computers and the internet; now that it was part of her life, she didn’t know how she had ever survived without it.

In the bedroom, Amy’s body was a small island in a lake of blankets. Kate walked to bed wrapped in a towel, tossing it toward the hamper before she crawled naked onto her side of the bed. She slid her hand over Amy’s shoulders, and Amy stirred and rolled onto her back.

“Hi,” she said, half a word and half a sound of surprise. Kate bent down and kissed her lips. “I heard you come in and I was trying to stay awake.”

“It’s okay,” Kate whispered. “You have to be up in a few hours; you need you sleep.”

Amy closed her eyes and stretched against the mattress. “How was the game?”

“We lost.”

“Sorry, baby.”

Kate shook her head. “They were the better team. We’ve learned their tricks and next time ve vill croosh dem.”

Amy chuckled. “I wish I could have been there.”

“These late games are tough,” Kate said. “You need your beauty sleep.”

“Do I?” Amy touched her cheek and lips.

“No, not really.” She brushed Amy’s hand away and touched her face. She ran her finger over Amy’s cheek and down to her chin. “Amy.”

Amy had started to fall back into sleep. “Mmm?”

“Thank you.”

“It was just Mac-Cheese-Weinies-Peas,” Amy said. “I don’t mind.”

Kate shook her head. “Not for that. Although, yeah, thank you for that. But… thank you for giving me a happy ending.”

Amy opened her eyes. “What?”

“I was depressed, guilt-ridden and alone when we got together. You made me not be sad. And then you made me happier than I’ve ever been. I don’t know how I got lucky enough to be here, right now, with you, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

“You’re going to make me cry.”

“Sorry,” Kate said. “Roll over.”

Amy did as instructed and Kate spooned her. Amy was naked as well, and their bodies fit together with the ease of long practice. Kate kissed Amy’s neck, her fingers laced over Amy’s stomach. Amy turned her head and said, “I love you, Kate.”

Kate pressed her lips to the corner of Amy’s mouth. “Love you, too, Amy.”

She settled against Amy’s back, holding her and listening to her breathing as it slowed. She wasn’t sure she wanted a ring and a wife, just because she wasn’t a fan of the whole ceremony and institution of love. But the idea of spending the rest of her life with this woman, in this life, was more than just something she could see herself doing. She wanted to fight for it with everything she had. She wasn’t going to let it go without a fight. She kissed Amy’s neck again, and lay down to go to sleep.

When it came to baseball, she could take a loss now and then. But when it was something like this, she was going to win no matter how long it took. She smiled and pulled Amy closer to her, the two of them shifting on the mattress until they found a mutually comfortable position and Kate finally drifted off to sleep.


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