Don DeLillo by Americana

Don DeLillo by Americana

Author:Americana [Americana]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Published: 2012-06-05T10:27:00+00:00


About a week after the party Tommy Valerio and I went over to a deserted ballfield on the edge of town.

The field was surrounded by woods. Only the bare outlines of basepaths and a pitcher’s mound remained, and what should have been the skin part of the infield was covered with weeds. Tommy had a long thin fungo bat and we took turns hitting fly balls to each other. It was a cool day for September, generously blue, football weather really, and I ranged across the outfield making casual basket catches, hunching my shoulder and pounding the glove twice like Willie Mays, and trying to adjust to the sudden change of season; not sorry to see summer go because autumn was all gold and wine in the New Hampshire fields and I would be going into senior year at St. Dymphna’s, where I would amble along the gray lanes in my tweed sportcoat.

And yet something was coming to an end, not just summer but something like the idea of what I was, the time I occupied like space, that private time in which one moves and thinks and knows the questions. Time had been warped and I looked back to the week before and could not find myself. It wasn’t until years later, in the period of the affairs, that I began to struggle against this disappearance; to give nothing to Jennifer Fine for fear there would be nothing left for myself. I drifted back to the edge of the trees and caught a long high drive.

“Let’s switch,” Tommy shouted.

“Keep on hitting,” I said. “I want to shag a few more.”

I stayed out there for a long time. Tommy got tired of swinging the bat but I kept telling him to hit a few more, just a few more. I didn’t want to stop. The ball would rise from the bat and then I would hear the light crack of contact and it would go up into the cloudless sky, almost vanishing, black at its apogee, coming down white and bruised, an old ball bruised green from the grass. I began to get serious. I would crouch as Tommy went into his swing, meat-hand on my right knee, glove-hand dangling straight down. Ball in the air, I would break quickly, watching just the first second of its flight, and then run head-down to the spot where I knew it would land, the spot dictated by the memory of that first second and a knowledge of the wind and Tommy’s power and the sound of ball on bat. Ball caught, I would fire it back as hard and straight as I could, as if a runner had been tagging from third. Tommy would let my throw bounce into the sagging backstop. It went on like this. I was nobody. I was instinct and speed and a memory that extended back for no more than seconds. That was all. I could have gone on all day. But Tommy got exhausted and finally called it quits.


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