Exercise — “Intimidating”
Billy Washer, 32, Salesman, Married
I pulled my legs in as Judy squeezed passed, smiling as little Ben waddled behind her. They continued to my right, apologizing as they made their way through the crowded row. Geez there were a lot of people here. The stadium stands moved and swayed as thousands of heads bobbed about, ebbing and flowing to the rhythm of the game. The immensity of the crowd created an air of sound, as if constant chatter was the default state of noise. So many faces. Talking, cheering shouting. Drinking too. I couldn’t avoid that bitter tanginess if I tried. It permeated the air, nearly as thick as the sound.
The whistle blew like a sharp arrow piercing through the wall of noise. I snapped my head back to the field. From this height, the players seemed like toys. The only reason I came to these games — besides Judy and Ben — were to watch the random awkwardness of the players as they waited to crunch or be crunched into the dirt. Unfortunately, the immense presence to my left was gravitating my attention. I glanced over the two plastic seats, cold and empty. There he was. Mr Pritchard. His thick neck and square beard were almost designed to drink cheap beer from a plastic cup. He pulled half the drink and rested again on his knee. Talk to him. No! Why would I do that? Things are fine as is. Silence. Well, silence between us anyway. Just talk to him please. The voice came again, this time somehow sweeter. Ah, it was Judy’s words. I looked back outward, not only the patchy field, but up. It’s funny how many resources are put into drawing our eyes down when the real beauty is above. Tonight, however, I could only see dense fog and imposing darkness.
My clenched fist tapped twice against the arm chair. Once wasn’t enough of a pump-up and thrice would simply be stalling. I turned to Mr Pritchard and opened my mouth. Words did come out, but they were immediately lost in the barrage of celebration. Mr Pritchard launched onto his feet, pumping his hair-covered arm into the sky. His beer didn’t spill at all. I slumped back into my stiff chair and stared into the backs of jumping fans before me. At least I tried.