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Touching All the Bases by Timothy Gager

When Skip got sober, the first thing he did was move away and join a softball team. His clothes were now piled on the floor. He hadn’t lived in a house without a washer for a very long time. Going, going, gone.

Bobbi said that because of his drinking, that she never wanted to see him again, but after a few weeks and two hours of distance away, she called feeling empty. Skip told her he felt the same void, but he didn’t budge. Then Bobbi had dental surgery, so Skip went and took care of her. He stole her Vicodin, but Bobbi forgave him, but only after they made love. Her orgasm escaped between her lips effortlessly to a point he found himself helpless.

They stayed in bed naked while the only two outfits he had brought spun in her dryer. Bobbi arched her back, curled her legs around him, his nose buried in her hair. Skip reached behind to the nightstand and gripped the vodka from last night. He remembered drinking and her letting him, as if none of it mattered anymore. He thought he could never be good enough and it would be easier to just run off again and not be.

Skip pulled a warm sip down his throat and began to kiss her neck. Bobbi’s backside pushed back into him and the desire he felt became the only thing he had. He placed a hand firmly on her hips which caused her to flip onto her stomach. He pressed his naked torso against her back and they began to make love slowly, without a past or a future.

Skip only brought that small amount of clothes because he knew it this couldn’t last. Autumn was coming and the game would end and Bobbi would kick him out again. He received an email that his new team had forfeited without him and there were feelings of shame and guilt in his gut. He had to go. She said that.

Driving back, he remembered certain moments in their relationship back when it was new. Things weren’t so baffling then. He remembered going to a batting cage and saw that Bobbi had a better swing than most of the guys he knew. That could have been enough, but it was the sight of her wearing a tank top, shorts and an oversized helmet that he found attractive. She was petite, but held herself strong. It was also the night he found out that she was extremely intelligent. It was the clincher. Bobbi was smart enough to take care of her own life while he was floundering and misshaping constantly in his.

Driving home, Skip thought sometimes a bat connects with a ball so perfectly that it seems like it travels forever in a line to the deepest part of the field. When that happens, there is no need to run, pretty much trot around the diamond to the welcoming arms of your team, waiting there to congratulate you. Sometimes, you can strike out as well. But in the beginning, there is always a certain beauty in perfection, like the smell of her hair, the arch of her back and at the point of contact, two things coming together for that perfect moment.


Timothy Gager is the author of eleven books of short fiction and poetry. His latest, The Thursday Appointments of Bill Sloan, (Big Table Publishing) is his first novel. He hosts the successful Dire Literary Series in Cambridge, Massachusetts for over thirteen years and is the co-founder of Somerville News Writers Festival. His work appears in over 300 journals, of which nine have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. His work has been read on National Public Radio.

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