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Greatest Hits

            The baseball soared and bounced against the outer wall of Kathy’s third floor apartment. Elvis blared with static from the boys’ radio they brought to the field. Boisterous cheers followed the crack of their bat striking another ball.

            Kathy resisted the urge to roll over and press an ear into her pillow. She sat up slowly, stabled herself, and dangled her feet over the edge to slip on her house shoes. Her sweet feline friend, Lilly, brushed against Kathy’s legs before she stood up. She caught her balance on the nightstand when her knees weren’t awake yet. A big gulp of room temperature water sent a good-morning call through the rest of her, and she hobbled to the window.

            The boys laughed and laughed as the baseball flew back and forth between their mitts. Their radio died out as Kathy poked a finger out to lift a blind panel.

            “Can I play with you?” she whispered to the grass.

            The boys didn’t answer. Kathy moved her legs one by one to start the coffee, then waited near the pharmacy – permanent marker scrawled across her medicine cabinet. Her leathered fingers tugged twice, three times to pop open the magnetized door. She kept the lids off the bottles because it was easier that way.

            Another song started up outside. Kathy dribbled coffee on her slippers as she hurried near the window. Just as she sat, the heat came on, and air rushed from her ceiling vents. She thought she could recognize the tune before the warmth covered the sound.

            She ambled across the room to the thermostat. She would only turn it off for a few minutes to hear the boys’ radio.

            Kathy trudged back to the window, resting again in her chair. The song howled up to her and the boys clamored with every ball they hit. Kathy hummed along until a ball tapped against her window. Her eyes popped open, then she poked a finger through the blind.

            “Do you need a pitcher, dears?”

            The boys must have run to fetch the ball and taken their radio with them.

            Kathy decided to turn on the television while the boys found their ball. She stayed away from the news. They were always reporting that someone had died, whether it be soldiers, families, even babies sometimes, or someone wrinkled like her. She flipped through the channels to find the cartoon with the dragons she loved, and she rested as the colors decorated the screen.

            Soon, the boys returned with their baseball and kept playing. Kathy turned the volume on the television down halfway, and then down low. Elvis still sang on the radio and the boys talked about their favorite teams. She wanted to tell them about her favorite team. She turned off the television and leaned her face an inch from the window.

            “My favorite team is the Braves. Do you like them?”

            The boys must have won tickets to the baseball game from the radio station they’d been listening to, and they left.

            Kathy decided to leave the television off, because she wanted to hear about the boys’ fun time at the game when they came back.

The time ticked endlessly. She took the clock off the wall and removed the batteries. The ticking was too loud, and she wanted to listen for when the boys came back.

            She poured another cup of coffee, keeping herself awake in case the boys came back late. While she was in the kitchen, she heard the low vibration of her refrigerator. She unplugged it, the whir sputtering out, so she could hear the boys return.

            Kathy ventured back toward the window, but in the hallway, she heard the faint buzzing of the lamp’s bulb. She unscrewed the noisy lightbulb just for tonight. The boys might try to be quiet when they come back, so she wanted to be able to hear their footsteps.

            When Kathy reached her chair, she listened for the boys, but she didn’t hear anything for quite some time. She was beginning to feel bored, and slow, and hungry, and cold. She could wait, though. She was going to wait.

            Kathy sat and waited, poking a finger through the blinds occasionally. Lilly startled her when she leaped into her lap. The cat made a few circles and pressed her paws into Kathy’s legs before lying down. Lilly began to purr.

            Kathy really wanted to listen for the boys. They were going to talk about how much fun they had at the baseball game. They were going to play Kathy’s favorite song on their radio. They were going to hit the ball against Kathy’s window again.

            Kathy told Lilly she’d like to listen closer for the boys, but Lilly continued to purr. Kathy had to turn her off so that she could hear better. Kathy felt around Lilly’s neck for her off button, and she had to squeeze as tight as she could to get the button to work. There were a couple other noises before the purring stopped, but finally it was quiet.

            She listened closely for the boys. She thought they’d come back any minute, sneaking back to the field with a sack full of peanuts from the game. She listened as closely as she could, but she didn’t hear anything except for her own breathing.

            That must have been why she couldn’t hear the boys. Kathy took one big deep breath and held it, focusing her hearing. She had to release the breath after a while, but she tried again. She took in a deep breath and held it. This time, she held it longer, but she still didn’t hear the boys. She kept trying, holding her breath longer and longer each time, until she didn’t have to release the breath anymore. It was completely quiet now, and Kathy could finally listen.

            One of the boys climbed through her window and pulled the blinds aside. “Kathy, don’t you want to hear about the Braves game? We brought you some peanuts.”

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Christina Giacalone

Christina Giacalone is a senior psychology major with a minor in creative writing. She has always had an interest in the field of mental health, but writing is her true passion. Christina enjoys writing deep emotional pieces of fiction that leave a bittersweet aftertaste. One day, she hopes to be able to hold a physical copy of her first published novel in her hands

I felt like naming a song title in my writing would be too on-the-nose and give away some secrecy, but the Elvis song intended for this piece is "Are You Lonesome Tonight?"

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