Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Her mother had said no, which always made her think yes, the way you have the white ball lined to sink a ball in the side pocket (almost horizontal), and can't quite see the spot it should connect to the cue through the white ball where you are staring, and there is a boy with longish hair and an elastic waist who seems poised somehow, to stroke your brow, but you are only eleven and the smoke-filled room is loud with soccer commentary and acrid bets, and shots of espresso and you stare down the length of your cue--yes you have your own cue--thinking "no" in this instance, or the instance about to occur, no must certainly mean yes. You know this, you know you are second-guessing yourself, you are thinking you should trust yourself, just as you know that the first thought, or the first site of the spot on the white ball is always the one that locks the shot--and you know that if you second guess yourself you'll hear the thunk of ball hitting rail. As if intuition was more geometrically gifted than logic, and a gut more rational than religion. You think, but I love her, I respect her, I really do, and you do, and you are right to, but some mothers need more room for error than others, and this gives you your sense of equanimity, and despite the ring of seventeen year-old boys, gathered now, curious and nutmeg-scented with their elastic waists and sweet mouths, their soft, hooded eyes, taunting you, you go back to that first thought, and before you can think again, you shoot it, and of course, of course it is good.

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