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Even from the track above her silky voice could clearly be heard, carried away by self-critique, salting the stuffy air more accustomed to beads of human sweat than the constant caption with which she underscored every volley.
In just one full lap, two of their doubles’ foursome had left the gym court. Alone with the man who had been her partner she sat, then, over under the basketball hoop, he in a preferred squat, and segued to conversation.
Her voice was the kind one would associate with a bedside nurse, light, childlike. One wondered if these were born to sustain such tones, or cultivated in families where being unbearably kind was the order. Hers, incongruous with the acoustics inside the gym at the YMCA, a sound unexpected.
Reference was made to the care of an elder, possibly her mother or father, and from the track above she could be seen demonstrating the method by which hers utilized a mobilizing walker, describing its function in detail. The man who had been her partner, from his squatted position, offered well placed affirmations, watching her talk.
She wore grey flared slacks and a light, cream colored knit long sleeved sweater appropriate for office work during the transition from fall to winter; the man who had been her partner was clad in gym shorts and a sleeveless, hooded boat jacket. Her elder was 97 now, she said, and he listened as she expanded her narrative to speculate about what could or could not be expected of someone who had reached such an age. There was so much to say. Was he married?
He was, he said.
Her head bowed slightly, rendering her words less intelligible, and she looked from side to side as she spoke. The man who had been her partner stood. One of them suggested returning to the court. The other obliged.
© Ruth Ann Scanzillo 11/17/16 – All rights those of the author, whose name appears above this line. Thank you for the respect. Your volley.
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