The Spaces Between Your Fingers

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Marie remembers a time she was playing a

The buzzing and humming of over-taxed electrical wires and the sweating of each individual blade of grass made it sound and feel like a typical muggy day in late August. Marie was in the backyard of her home with her three of her brothers, Mark, Mike, and Matt; her friends Anne, Carly, and Lucy; and Lucy’s brother Nelson. They were looking for something different to do. 

After a summer filled with wiffle-ball, they were a bit bored with it. Someone found a football and they decided that would fit the need for something a little different.

“Girls vs boys. I know we can take you boys easily.” Anne snickered. 

“No chance, girls,” Mike snapped back. 

“Alright, let’s get this game started.” Mark said, with his game face on. 

“You girls can get the ball first, this is gonna be an easy win,” Matt said.

The boys lined up to kick the ball off and the girls went back to receive. Marie was set to receive the kick and felt confident that her teammates would provide excellent protection and blocking.   

“Remember, Anne you block Mark and keep him out of the way for me,”  Marie said. “He is the fastest and he is older so will want to make sure he gets me.”

Anne nodded affirmatively and Lucy quickly asked, “Who do I block.”

“You take Nelson, he won’t be expecting that at all because he thinks you are afraid of him,” Marie said.  “Carly, you take Matt. That means all I have to do is get past Mike, and it should be pretty easy to fake him out.”

Marie knew from past experience that Mike could be fooled with a head fake, so that is what she planned to do.  Mike kicked off the ball. With the temperature around 100 degrees and the humidity around 90 percent, the football had a slick feel to it.  As a result, the balls flight looked oddly like an inept bird flailing ungracefully in the air. Marie caught it on one bounce, then took her time to let her blockers do their jobs.  

The other girls blocked successfully and soon it was just Mike in the way of a touchdown. Marie faked moving right, but Mike stayed in pursuit and crouched lower, getting ready for the tackle.  He was not fooled this time. Marie made the quick decision to jump over him and keep going.

Only, it did not turn out as planned.

She did not jump high enough and her left leg, almost exactly between the ankle and knee, hit square on Mike’s right shoulder.  Everything from that instant seemed to move in slow motion.

The sound of a hundred dried out twigs snapping at the same time filled the air, as Marie felt the snap and realized what was happening.  The leg was surely broken. It seemed like a few minutes until she actually hit the ground, and could not get back up. She had made it to the end zone, though.

“Touchdown,” the girls shouted excitedly.  Then Carly went inside to get Marie’s parents.

“We will have to finish this game another time,” she said.  “But technically, if we had to call it right now, I guess we won.” 

Marie Breaks Her Leg

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