Grady’s thoughts were flying as he approached her door. A third date – this could lead to something. Whoa... slow down boy! Let’s just see how it goes at the game today! Their first two dates had gone well and he remembered her enthusiasm when the talk turned to baseball. What a pleasant surprise that had been.
And then, there she was, coming down the walk to meet him. Merideth was so lovely, the sight of her took his breath away. Her dark hair fell past her shoulders in soft waves, and her smile caught his eye and wouldn’t let go. Blinking, he greeted her and helped her into the car.
Grady’s anticipation of the next few hours resulted in a fountain of excitement that flowed from his mouth. Merideth had a few comments of her own, always accompanied by that smile, and the trip to the park passed quickly. Before they knew it, they were in their seats and the game had begun.
At the beginning of the third inning four men the size of football line-backers trooped into the row in front of them, obscuring the view a good bit. The game turned out to be a pitcher’s duel, and the front row was becoming rowdy, calling out their displeasure. Instead of watching the game, Merideth scowled and stared at their backs, muttering under her breath.
“You must admit, this has been boring, and I’m tired of these creeps in front of us. They probably don’t even have tickets for those seats!”
“Creeps? Aw, they’re just into the game. It has been slow, but I’m sure it’ll get better.”
“Well, we went to all the trouble to come down here - I want to see some action!” she grumbled. Like sunlight breaking through the clouds, her magnificent smile suddenly returned, but she continued to complain. “Besides, I’m hot, and you haven’t even offered me a soft drink.”
Spotting a vendor, Grady bought two soft drinks. The “big four” had already downed their limit of beers, and now started in with soda, which apparently triggered their appetites. For the next 3 innings, they took turns calling out to vendors, waving and whistling until they were served.
Grady accepted all this as part of the “at the park” experience, but Merideth was clearly upset, and continued to glare at the “front line” instead of watching the game.
“No wonder they’re so huge. Won’t they ever stop with the food?”
Uncomfortable, Grady called her name. “Merideth?”
Her answering glance was accompanied by a brilliant smile. “Yes. Is the game over?”
Realizing by now that the smile bore no relation to her thoughts, Grady tried to get her mind back on the game. “Uh... no, it’s the bottom of the seventh, and it’ll be the top of the line-up. If they’re going to do anything, this is the time.”
When play resumed the first two batters got on base and the crowd suddenly woke up. The next batter walked, making the bases loaded, and the four “linemen” in front of them came to their feet. Grady and Merideth stood along with everyone else, but the linemen made an impenetrable wall.
“CRACK!” The cleanup batter connected , but Grady and Merideth could see nothing. Only when the crowd exploded with cheers did they realize the Tigers had just established a sizable lead with a grand slam.
Grady was disappointed, but not enough to dampen his celebration. He turned to Merideth to offer a high five, but that was the last thing on her mind. Merideth was fuming, and with fire in her eyes, she exploded past Grady to confront the four linemen.
“You inconsiderate louts! You drunken dopes! What’s wrong with you? This stadium wasn’t built just for your convenience – we paid for good seats and we get the honor of sitting behind King Kong and his friends!...”
The surprised group only stared at first, but as Merideth’s words began to penetrate, their expressions changed from bewilderment to anger. Grady wasn’t about to give them an opportunity to react. Grabbing Merideth’s arm, he dragged her toward the exit as fast as he could.
By the time they reached the car, they had both calmed down, but the ride home was so quiet they could hear the tires hitting the cracks in the pavement. Grady let Merideth out at her curb, and quickly pulled away. Her one attempt to offer a feeble smile had no effect on him, and he knew, never would again.
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