Dear Major League Soccer,
It’s funny how lucid moments can be before the times that change our lives.
A tragedy foreshadowed in the vibrant glare of a setting sun reflecting off the dew collected on the tip of a great oak’s newest leaf.
A baby’s first breath hinted in the fluttering feathers on the wing of a dove flying startled into the crisp autumn air.
I’ve been in that train as it plummets from the tracks. Smoking cigarettes and whiskey in the first class lounge. A piano plays and I can hear the fingers hit the keys hit the hammers hit the chords. I can see the faint etches of our thoughts as the smoke clings in the air and settles on our sleeves. The clinking of glasses and subtle puckered sound of parched lips sipping a spirit or sucking a drag serves as a foil to rattle of a caboose hurling along tiny metal tracks. The ambience of a moment stuck in time.
I’ve just lit a cigarette, just the next of too many. The whiskey burns my throat and a friend chuckles on. I look side-eye at my lady covered in the finest of frills. A flower of fortune I think as I shake the dice in my clammy paw.
With fist in the air the cabin lurches as gravity and time intersect and do battle. We float for a second, I reach out with one hand as she is lifted from her seat. I let the dice roll as we tumble to ceiling. I see outside the window as a tumbler of drink whirls by my head. This is our last breath.
But then Nat Borchers catches our train in his gently sculpted arms and lays us down on a bed of roses.
I’ve been in that car driving down the lonely road we’d been down before yet never seen in our lives. The dashboard lights flickering as each curve shakes the wiring. I know I’m going too fast. My gut is telling me so as it sloshes left to right and prepares for some sort of calamitous collision. My coffee sloshes over the side of the stained generic cup. There’s lipstick from who’s lips I’ll never know.
I straighten the wheel, squealing tires from a series of sharp corners. I creep faster and turn the dial on the radio. It’s Jimi Hendrix’s “Fire.” I kill the lights as the engine gives its all. The frame is shaking. The windows are shaking from their rolled down perch inside the thin doors. I count the seconds.
One. Two. Three. I turn the lights on just in time to see the turn. I can make it. But I can’t. Inexplicable I can’t slow down and can only go faster as I careen onward. My stomach is now in my throat. I feel dizzy. I feel sick. I feel like that moment on a rollercoaster just before the first drop after the click-click-click-click-click metronome of fear leads you to the edge. But I wouldn’t be laughing at a shitty photo with my family after. I’d be smeared across the trees approaching.
But then Nat Borchers steps from behind the ancient trunk of a hundred year old Doug Fir and plucks me innocently from the window as the car bursts into flames.
I’ve been in that airplane as the cabin loses pressure and the crying whine of the engines drowns the wails for mercy. I was bummed to not have a window seat. The plane was crowded. There was one of every type of person I don’t like. Two of every type of person you don’t want to be trapped in a box at 20,000 feet with.
I couldn’t drink more even if I’d wanted to. The scorn of a slighted flight attendant isn’t to be trifled with. She hadn’t liked my advances or my gripes or my jittery neediness I wore to mask my downright fear. I ate the last peanut and nervously shook the ice in my empty plastic cup.
I tried not to stare as she passed again but I did at the moment it flew off the floor and into the air. The whine of the engines. The ding of the fasten seat belts sign. The Captain saying nonsense over the intercom as the attendant screamed blood rushing into air. A lurch. A turn. The masks dropping as screaming is starting. I don’t want to die someone yells into a sea of the same thought. Who ever does I think as I begin to weep.
Then Nat Borchers appears from first class and plugs a hole in the fuselage using his old RSL jersey and then saves the pilots life before successfully landing us slightly off course.
This season isn’t even a train wreck-car crash-plane wreck but when it is and it seems like there is no hope, at least we have our second leading goal scorer.