Just Strangers

I lied on a sloping hill and stared up at a dark, starless sky. A few yards up the hill was a large soccer field. Those few yards and a fence were the only things separating me from that field, and thus the players on it. As I listened to the cheering and the blowing of the whistle, I drifted off into a world of speculation. I went home with each of those soccer players. One boy loved orange Gatorade and relaxing in denim bean bag chairs. His parents were divorced. Another had Batman posters in his room, because he loved comic books. Every time he played in a game, he always had a nagging thought that he just wasn’t good enough.

I didn’t want to be on that hill anymore. I wanted to be on the other side of the fence, in the bleachers, under the blinding stadium lights. I wanted to be drinking orange Gatorade and reading Batman comics. I wanted to look into the eyes of each one of those players and tell them that yes, they are enough. I wanted to meet their families, to understand to their hurts, to know them deeply and personally. My heart was filled with loneliness and longing. In an hour, those players would be gone. Back to their denim bean bag chairs. Back to their posters. I would never be on the other side of the fence with them. I would never be able to unravel their needs and speak life into them. They would forever be just soccer players, just faces. Forever strangers, up the hill and behind the fence.

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