From The Other Side

3. strike out

THREEstrike out

Friday, February 19th

At lunch, Isaiah stared off into space, eyes focused outside the cafeteria windows. He heard his friends talking and laughing, but he didn’t process a thing they were saying. His mood was plummeting each day he didn’t get to play. His hands aching to be inside a glove or wrapped around a bat.

He never realized how much he relied on baseball until then. Everytime he played he forgot about his anxiety, the small conflicts his parents got into every now and then, and just general life stress. And now that he was being kept away from it due to an injury, he couldn’t stop fidgeting. Couldn’t stop himself from falling into a shitty mood.

              He slouched over the table and laid his head on his arms. A moment later a hand touched his back and he jerked in surprise, lifting his head to meet Marcus’s concerned frown. “You good?”

               Isaiah shrugged and didn’t say anything. Marcus patted his back a few times before removing his hand, placing it in his lap. “Sorry for shoving you,” he said. “I didn’t know you would get hurt. I know you hate not being able to play.”

                 “It’s whatever.”

                 “Sure. You feeling any better?”

                 “Kind of,” Isaiah mumbled. “I should be good by Monday.”

                 Marcus grinned. “Good,” he said. “I miss you out there.”

                  “I bet,” Isaiah joked. Marcus laughed and nudged his shoulder before turning to the rest of the table. As soon as he looked away, Isaiah sighed to himself. He was bored now that he wasn’t playing.

                 Isaiah zoned out again until he registered a hand waving in front of his face. He blinked and looked up, arching an eyebrow at Ashton’s dull look. “What?”

“Dude,” Ashton chuckled. “Are you okay? You’ve been out of it since Wednesday.”

Isaiah was slowly getting tired of being asked that. “I’m fine.”

“Chill.” Ashton raised his hands in surrender.  “Anyway, you wanna go to a party tomorrow night? Ryan Cane’s house.”

He frowned. “Why would I wanna do that?”

“Uh, pretty girls? Alcohol? The good ol’—” Ashton pressed his fingers together and kissed them. “—marijuana.”

Isaiah rolled his eyes. “I choose option D: none of the above.”

Some random guy from the team, Alex, snorted loudly. Everyone turned to him. Alex shifted under the attention and asked, “What? You gay or something?”

Isaiah scowled. What did that have anything to do with him not wanting to go to a party? “No.”

“Dude, you don’t even acknowledge a single girl who flirts with you,” Alex stated, absolutely serious about his theory that Isaiah was gay. “For all we know, you’re a virgin or something.”

Isaiah felt his annoyance building up. He briefly imagined socking Alex in his ugly, bulbous nose. “So just because I haven’t dated a girl, that means I’m gay? Does that also mean since I’ve never seen your dick, that you’re a girl. Want me to date you?”

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