I’ve opened the archives to republish some of my most popular posts over in celebration of the three year anniversary of Big Girl Life. Boston: A Love Letter was originally published on 11/11/13.
Boston: a love letter
I feel particularly happy that the Boston Red Sox won the World Series a few weeks ago. It reminded me of that Spring in 1990 where I made an ass of myself at Fenway Park, during the first and only game I’ve ever attend there and how it strangely healed me. I’ve been a fan ever since. I’m a fan not just because I went to school in Boston or that my dorm room a was short walk from the stadium. I got to go to that game as the result of an intervention. There had been a meeting among my friends earlier that day. They called their parents; worried about me and all the crying which was the result of the worst kind of break-up you can have.
The worst break-ups die a slow and agonizing death over a period of weeks or even months. This is the situation I found myself in a few days prior to the game; angry from a constant lack of returned phone calls, suspicious he was having another relationship with someone else, and sleep deprived from mid-terms. After months of being confused by avoidance and vagary, I had to end it with a phone call to keep a shred of self-respect. It was a classic rookie move — loving someone so completely, hedging all your future hopes and dreams into a version of yourself as a couple. I was 19 years old.
My bad break-up was the final event of a succession of bad mojo that Spring in Boston. My tuition funds had run out, and I had received word from financial aid that nothing can be done. so, I wouldn’t be returning to school in Boston. I was by now also homesick, stressed from the rigorous school work, and had anxiety every day about what would happen next. Plan B was to apply to University of Connecticut as a sophomore transfer, but I wouldn’t know if that would happen until mid-summer. My closest childhood friend and current roommate had left school and our shared dorm room feeling sad and empty just me, because her sweet father had died of cancer. I felt unhinged, adrift, and broken. So after I hung up the phone at the end of the break up call with my now-ex I closed my blinds to the ambulances and taxi cabs of Brookline Avenue below my window and cried on and off for 36 hours straight. I emerged Sunday afternoon at the urging of my friends.
The Red sox are playing at Fenway, and my Dad gave me his tickets. He told me to get you out of this room.” My friends Jocelyn, Sherri, and Kristen all stood there united against any resistance I might give. Someone turned on the light. “We all think you need to get out and have some fun.
It felt like I had inhabited someone else’s body on the walk up to Fenway. I tried to sound normal in my conversations with Jocelyn; to cover up my rawness which felt as if I was walking naked down Brookline Avenue. The cloudy sky, the crowds on Yawkey Way, and the hot dog vendors all seemed sharp and over-exposed. I didn’t belong here in this city anymore. I wouldn’t be coming back. What was the point? Sitting there in her father’s seats, we were surrounded by real Boston fans – the accents, the joking, the yelling at the umpire, the layering, and the baseball hats. They were focusing completely on the game. Desperate to get out of my own head for just a little while, joining in seemed like a better option. I looked at the green scoreboard trying to figure out what it all meant.
I was feeling a little better when during the fourth inning, it began to rain. The players retreated to the dugout and a small army of workers emerged from the perimeter of the stadium with what looked like a gigantic white rolled up rug.
Fascinated, I watched them situate it at one end of the field and then proceed to unroll it over the field. It was a spectacle, and I forgot my self-consciousness for a moment when I asked Jocelyn if they were going to play on top of the tarp to save the turf. She looked at me disapprovingly and said she wasn’t positive, but maybe they would raise it over the field and play underneath it.
That’s when I heard choking sounds from behind us. We turned around a saw several men who had overheard us trying to control their fits of laughter. I looked at Jenny red in the face.
Oh my Gawd that’s the most stupid thing I’ve eva heard! Ladies thay-a coverin’ da field!
They were by now hysterical; almost choking to death on their hot dogs. Then we burst into laughter, too. Here’s the whole field-covering rigamarole if you’ve never had the pleasure of seeing it for yourself.
[iframe src=”//www.youtube.com/embed/xpJZOoDWH-U?rel=0″ width=”100%” height=”480″]
The guys bought us some beers to make up for the razzing we took, which was pretty brutal. I think the guys probably still tell the story of the two most clueless Red Sox fans ever and laugh. I was reminded that day in Fenway Park that even though my mind was predicting doom and the events surrounding my life were incontestably shitty, like my perception of covering the field was so off-base, perhaps the voice in my head that told me that my life would never be happy again didn’t know what the hell it was talking about, either. Perhaps this was just a rain delay in my life, the outcome which was unclear. It was time to take a moment, put my Big Girl pants on and admit I was being ridiculous. The game was called shortly after the 6th inning for rain. As we walked home down Brookline toward Beth Israel Hospital, I no longer felt so broken. All that energy of hope all those Boston fans focus on their team in that stadium had managed to infiltrate my sadness and spark some hope in me too that one day I’d be back in the game again soon. Even though I did leave the city a few weeks later, the game that day left me with a special affinity for Boston, the Red Sox, its fans, and rain delays.
p.s. More on the healing power of laughter here.
image credit: ESPN