He asked him- What did he want the beads in the band to spell..?
Basketball, he said..and began to pick the beads himself.
I liked him instantly.
I wouldn’t be exaggerating if I said he lived to play the game- and did I mention he was good, oh he was brilliant!! All those practice sessions in and out of the school gym- when sweat used to pour down his arm like branches of a river, leaving me all wet and dirty and smelly- it grossed me out at first till I understood his immense love and passion for basketball- after that, well it grossed me still but I learned to grin and bear it.
I learnt a lot of things.
I learnt how to flaunt myself on his left wrist every game night- that band of black that flashed every time he leaped for a jump shot, every time he slammed a dunk. I also learned how to blend with the cuffs of his dinner jacket at school formals. In time, he stopped wearing his watch altogether. I was the only accessory he needed. Almost everyone in town knew him. Those who didn’t know him, knew of him, and those ignorant few who didn’t know him at all- were educated thus- “He’s the boy with the black band”- they used to say. It was as though people had no memory of a time when I hadn’t existed- we were inseparable. I was a part of him- not disunited for even a second with his body heat- I raced along as his pulse raced mad beneath me- that first kiss in the backseat of a car after a win, the first brawl, the first breakup-
I saw it all..I was there.
That night he won a game for his team again- it was becoming routine. Celebrations, booze, hooking up with cheerleaders- it looked like a regular affair-except that it wasn’t. I heard the violent screeching of tyres on gravel as he walked home after the party, the sudden impact, the shattering of glass, the crunch of bone-
I heard it all..I was there.
The doctors said he couldn’t play anymore, hell they said he couldn’t walk anymore.
He…he said nothing..
He just ripped me off his wrist and aimed for the trash can in the corner of the room..
Did I mention his three pointer had always been faultless.
Needless to say where I ended up.
Basketball was over.
So was I.