Posted by: shelliejelly | May 31, 2008

Dear K.

After we started dating seriously, I’d find any amount of time I could to spend with you. Teaching freshman English didn’t require I be at school every day, or every hour, and so sometimes in the afternoon when you got off of work we’d go have dinner and then head to the bar and play pool for a few hours. Sometimes we’d have a beer, other times we’d drink ginger ale.

You were a good pool player, much better than me, and so I’d ask you to take it easy on me after you’d run the table, leaving me no sign of a possible shot. “I’m not playing with you,” you always teased, “I’m playing against you.” And you were right. Playing with someone with superior skill only served to make me better. I don’t have a mind for angles, at least not in any way required to be excellent at the game, but watching you negotiate the lines helped me better intuit what I needed to do to make shots.

One night, shortly after you died, I was playing with a friend of ours, S. He and his then girlfriend, now wife, had taken me out for a drink. S. and I played a few games together, and, like you, he bettered my efforts. But that night, as I stared down a really long shot on the eight ball to win, I willed you to come and help me. I needed to bank the ball off the far end of the table and bring it back to the left corner pocket. S. didn’t think I had a chance in hell, and, to be honest, neither did I. But I took a chance, and was amazed when the eight zipped up the table and back down, plunking into the identified pocket like it had finally made it home.

S. stared at me, and then he said it: “That must have been K.”

And I laughed at him, nodding my head in agreement, thanking you for finally letting me win.

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