The 14th of October, 1974 – West Bromwich

(found caught within the spokes of a bicycle, abandoned near the intersection of Cambridge and Emily streets)

Dear Thomas,

I hate golf.

How are the kids?

I really hate golf.

How is Stacy?

Is your arm better? Or was it your wrist? Try not to fall so often, anymore. At least, fall differently. Sometimes – I’ve found – it’s better to fall flat on your face than it is to try to cushion yourself with an outstretched hand. A misplaced effort like that gets you hurt more often than not.

I don’t understand why I put up with it, because I hate golf.

But I go every weekend with the boys, and it starts out fine enough. Everyone is excited. Everyone is happy and laughing. And then the frustration seeps in, at least for me. They all keep laughing.

I’m a terrible golfer, and I don’t deal with it well. I smash things, and I stomp my feet. I yell at the caddy (then tip him generously). I bring three extra putters because, by the end of the eighteen holes, a few will end up twisted around a tree, sunk to the bottom of a water feature or just left in the grass, waiting to rust in the next morning’s dew.

At some point I find myself standing in the middle of a fairway, surrounded by scattered clubs, with nothing, absolutely nothing. And right then, it isn’t about the ball or the hole or the strokes. It’s about the entire goddamned world which has just now decided to turn against me. and she won’t even…

And I’m just about to leave, go home to try to enjoy something, but I trudge to the next tee. And then something fascinating always happens. There’s always one shot, out of the hundred I take, that feels like perfection. I swing the club and hear it, feel it, strike the ball clean and a few rays of sun slip through the cloud floating above my head. Everything feels better. Everything feels how it should be, like how it was meant to be. And I move to the next hole.

But I don’t know…I wonder how that moment comes about, or even if it does. Isn’t it entirely possible that, swallowed by the despair of my own horrendous golf game, I make it all up? I need it, so I create it. And then it’s there, where I can always find it if I need hope.

Imagined or not, that single moment always manages to bring me back the next weekend.

Anyway, she smiled at me again – from across the room. She smiled at me, I’m pretty sure. I think.

With dearest regards,

Stetson

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