Green and still wet in the hot morning sun, the manicured grass sparkled like gems. He felt it under the soles of his cleats with each step, the flat cut tops of each blade bending beneath his weight. Eyes turned to the blue skies, squinting in the brightness, he shielded away the light at the end of the bill of his cap with the hand in his Wilson glove. Not a cloud to be found. The heat of the day needed extra energy from him. His closed lips curled up to one side as he turned his attention back to the front of the field. Twelve men sat at the ready, ready like him. The heat, he liked it, as the sweat wetted the band of his hat and ran down his back. It meant summer and it meant his passion.
He drew in a deep breath. In through his nostrils, the smells of cut grass, dirt, leather, perspiration, stale beer and old popcorn mingled and twisted, telling him, summer and baseball. His fullness, completeness, palpable. This was belonging, being and it was perfection. His vision narrowed as the man on the mound wound up and rocketed the white ball toward the batter’s box. CRACK!
THUMP! The hand smacked the foggy glass. He snapped up. He looked out the dew covered glass and the shape on the other side tapped at its wrist and pointed toward something. Groggy and still intoxicated by the smell from his summer dream, he moved slowly. The amber light that trickled into his car from the parking lot lights looked like a sick stain on his arm as he reached across to grab his lunch bucket from the passenger seat. He stomach turned at the orange stain of light and wished it was something he could scrub away. The digital clock in his dash read 6:20. He rubbed his eyes and opened his door.
As he stood outside, he felt the tightness in his side. He reached to the inky black above and the pain came. It would diminish, some, as the muscle stretched. He held his arm up like he was reaching up to escape the dark pit of this morning. The pain ran up his side and up his arm, then it ran down his side and into his leg. The muggy suffocation of the evaporating dew choked him as it smothered and stole his breath. This heat, he hated it, as the sweat wetted the band of his well-worn well-traveled Yankees cap, the one that he received when from the famed organization when he traveled from the Dominican Republic to the island of Manhattan, and ran down his back. The heat meant pain, brainless toil, hard body rending work and unsatisfactory reward.
He drew in a deep breath. In through his nostrils, the smells of motor exhaust, dirt, motor oil, plastics, grease, body odor and metal twisted into a sickening disharmony. His vacancy, disparateness, unbearable. This was failure, struggling and it was perdition. His vision narrowed at the people, slouch-shouldered shuffled toward the dimly lit monstrosity of manufacturing.