Here’s my Blog Battle #60 “Duplicitous” story!
Hard, smooth, ridged, white, and tainted by the leathery smell of animal hide, I rub my fingers along the braided seams and wait for Coach to give the go ahead. A faint raindrop tickles at my nose and reminds me yet again of the stupidity of forgetting my cap at home.
Ma is sure to give me a what for over the sunburn I can already feel heating my pale skin to a glowing lobster red. It never fails to surprise me how it is possible to burn on a cloudy day, but it has happened too many times to count. If only the soupy sky would thicken and give us a good downpour. Maybe then I wouldn’t end up the color of a maraschino cherry.
“Batter up!” Coach yells. He waves his clipboard in the air and points it at home plate as if none of us kids know where it is or something.
I toss the ball up in the air and catch it, swinging it behind my back and resting my wrist in the palm of my other hand. Trevor, the catcher, signals to me and I nod. A sneaky pitch is what he wants. Duplicitous is the word that comes to mind, but I never talk out loud like that. The guys would make fun of me for the rest of my life if they thought I was a word nut. I realize at this second that I am being duplicitous with my friends, pretending to be an average, baseball-loving, bike-riding, middling-grades fella like the rest of ’em.
It is just not acceptable to be a nerd in the ‘in crowd.’ If I ever admitted to my prodigious love of atypical words, the histories of mathematicians, chess, and classic literature I’d be laughed off this baseball field. Or worse. But I find there is a duplicity to this as well. It is deceptive how I can be liked when all that is known is we have baseball in common, but if our other differences were displayed or we disagreed on any other item of life we must forever be at odds.
“Greg! Wake up and throw the ball already!”
“Sorry, Coach,” I yell back at him and reach for my missing baseball cap the same way someone who wears glasses and forgets they’re not on will reach up to their nose to push up their nonexistent spectacles.
I look around to make sure everyone is where they belong then line up the shot. With one smooth, graceful move I let the ball fly. It arcs perfectly through the cool afternoon air, and I think again that my duplicitous act of lying by omission is the only thing keeping me from being laughed off this field. If I wasn’t such a great pitcher they’d never want me here.
Life just doesn’t seem to add up when it comes to what is acceptable and what is not. Who makes the rules about ‘cool’ anyway?
Toby swings at my pitch but misses by mere millimeters. I can hear the heavy swing of the bat from all the way over here, and I have to smirk because I know Toby won’t let that happen again. No matter how duplicitous I try to be with my pitching, he’ll figure it out. He always does. The thought wipes the smile from my face. If he can tell what ball I’m going to throw, can he tell that I’m hiding my real nerd identity underneath my cool guy, baseball player persona? Act cool, Greg. Act cool, man.