Robert Landon Sandy

My guest, ten year old William McKallen Jr., is late. It's something you don't do in this city, his city, to someone unless you want to offend them. In Texas, the land that I left, late is something to be expected, so I forgive him. I will always forgive him.

Opening pitch was at eight Eastern, a time zone I have learnt to live with like so much else. The Yankees are playing the Rangers, and I am trying to focus on the game instead of the fact that it is nearing nine. He is ten I tell myself, third or fourth grade, I've lost track. Either way he hasn't a car or any say on when he gets somewhere. This is his mother's doing. My daughter. Probably cautioning Billy, my own grandson, not to believe any stories I tell him.

Teixeira is up to bat. Traitor. Another fellow Texan stuck in this city. He might not really be a Texan, but I know he played in Dallas when I took the boy, Billy, to see the Rangers in two-thousand-five. We called him Tex then. Who knows what they call him in this place. He switch-hits. It's interesting. Sometimes lines up on the left side, sometimes on the right. Quite a talent if you ask me. I could never do anything with my left arm. We used to play a game back in Fannin County, when I was a young man, where my friends and I would try to throw left-handed. We all looked silly. That was the point, I guess, but a few of them did master the art.

After my daughter left William McKallen Sr., Billy's father, I had my second stroke. When it rains it pours, right? My daughter's solution was to uproot everyone to New York, where she was accepted to some school, don't ask me which. New beginnings and all that. But, if I live another year with no stroke, I'm moving back. My daughter and I were always distant, but I'd sure miss that boy.

I hate the North. Too industrial. Too rusty. Too many people. My wife's grave is almost exactly fifteen-hundred miles away from me. I counted. Oak Ridge Church of Christ, same church we were married in. We bought a double gravestone. I'm all done but the end date. I was never good at change, I feel so silly here. Those baseball players get a call and they uproot to a new city once or twice a year. Some people master the art. Ain't tied to a place. North, South, East, West. Boston or Beamount. Makes no difference.

There is a knock on the door. He'll be wearing a Yankees cap. This is his mother's city, and she is determined to make it his too. I clear the beer bottles. Unlatch the half dozen locks. The Yankees cap is behind his back. Ringed by his small hands. Maybe it's manners, maybe he just feels silly too.


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