September 29, 2007


For some reason, I was dressed in all black on that hot afternoon. I suppose there had been an earlier
assignment requiring reduced visibility, something political I’d say. A podium on a stage, a dimmed hall,
where I sat crouched on the floor in an aisle with a zoom lens.

When I got to the stadium, college teams from Illinois and Florida were halfway into the game under a
hot blue sky. I took up a position off third base just past the dugout where all the twenty-something
players, iconoclastic and cocky, were hanging out. A couple of routine plays put a runner on second
base. I was on autopilot, focused on the world in the viewfinder, mind like water. Then a drive to right
field brought the runner in; he tapped the plate and began to jog to the dugout. Somewhere in that few
seconds, the camera came down and I was watching the athlete, like scores of times before, as I sized up
my next shot in slow motion. A few high fives were sprouting from the dugout. Suddenly the coach was
at my side, handsome and heated, a little out of breath. He handed me the roster, looking me over, in my
black jeans and black pullover in the midday sun. "You look hot," he said. After neutralizing the catch in
my throat, I began to explain that this morning... but he cut me off. "I'm getting hot just looking at you,"
he said. Then he smiled and jogged back to the dugout as I stared at his jersey number and my hand
began rifling my camera bag for the roster.

Greg owned a tropical nursery on the east coast, started by his grandfather, and coached at the university,
among other pursuits. I'd learned a lot about making love by then, but so had he, and hours of
midsummer shadow play was often the outcome, topping out in the early morning hours. Breakfast on
Los Olas or A1A. Or we'd rent a cottage on Captiva and get lost in a dragonfly summer. Zero-gravity
experiments in the pool. You... showed it to me too, exactly what you do, and now you love me too...
And with both of us self-employed, this two-coast samba wasn't hard to work out.

The miles between us eventually grew brambles for me, while its challenges and intrigue continued to
motivate Greg. He seemed to thrive on the arrangement. Shortly after it all dissolved, vaporized, and
blew away, Greg became involved with someone while visiting New York. They've been "together"
now, a thousand miles apart, going on three years.

We drank screwdrivers from sports bottles on the beach, and gave pet names to sections of the nature
trail, The Sun's Anvil, which Greg dreaded. Sleepy Hollow, a darkling passage which sometimes seized
me with ticklish terror. We found remote cosseted clearings and drifted offshore on air mattresses.

We liked one another's athleticism, taking it for granted while it was mapped and explored, covertly,
openly, in sidelong glimpses at breakfast. We were the same age and at home with one another as
animals. The cultural landscape we shared and rediscovered was full of old friends.

We'd bicycle into town, buy expensive 10 oz cokes out of ice chests and gulp them in the hot sun, nearly
staggering with gratification. We held each other, slow dancing in a beach shack, with the tourists all
gone, to an oldies tune on a boom box supplied by the resort. Slow dancing until sky caught fire.