It was mid-morning and the summer air was hot and humid, not exactly the best time to be outside playing handball. The fact that both my shoes were soaked from the puddles left over from last night’s storm only added emphasis to this. However, it certainly wasn’t going to stop us from continuing our game.
At the moment, Nick, Fiona, and I were slapping a handball back and forth off the wall behind Fiona’s home in Forest Hills. It was something that we’d we’d do every now and then since we were kids.
I crouched for a moment, palming the ball firmly in hand.
It was my turn to serve, and Nick leaned on his toes, ready to intercept.
I turned to give the freakishly tall Hispanic Guyanan an exaggerated growl, and jokingly puffed up my chest to look as intimidating as I could.
Of course, when my target was a 6 foot 6 inch tall monster towering 7 inches over me, I probably looked pretty ridiculous to anyone watching.
He responded with a hearty, bellowing laugh, and smacked his chest in kind.
Finally, Fiona exclaimed, “Oh give me a break, I can practically smell the testosterone from here! Just smack the ball already Jamie.”
I chuckled and slapped the ball at the wall towards Nick, and we continued sending it between the three of us for a few minutes.
“Come on! You can do better than that!” I called out when one of Nick’s swings went wide, forcing him to chase after it.
While I waited for Nick to retrieve the ball, I took a sweep around the forested street where Fiona lived. There were very few people out at this time on an early Sunday morning, but we weren’t completely alone. Mr. and Mrs. Moon, an elderly Korean couple tended to their garden nearby.
Nearly every time I visited Fiona during the day, I could find one or both of the pair working on their impressive garden. They took gardening and landscaping to a completely new level. There were dozens of large cucumbers and tomatoes sitting yards away from a fig tree and two large rows of bright flowers led up to their door. There was even a small koi pond sitting in the middle of the lawn.
Noticing my stare, Mr. Moon waved and called out to me
“Good morning sonny boy! Would you like some nectarines? They’re in season right now!” shouted Mr. Moon before clipping his rose bush.
“That’s alright Mr. Moon, thanks!” I declined.
Nick came running back with the ball.
“I think I’m about done out here,” Nick breathed. “I’m freaking soaked.”