Jenice Gharib: B-R-A-V-E-S

Fall '06 TOC

he sits on the edge of the cot and she feels the scratch of the blue wool blanket through the thin skin of her khakis and she looks down and she wonders why she didn't put on a pair of shoes, a real pair of shoes, and not her black flip flops though these are her favorite shoes the ones she always wears, the most comfortable, and she remembers having once heard that in times of crisis that airline pilots they revert to using the emergency procedure of the plane they first learned to fly on though it's usually not the plane they are on and that causes problems and probably even death and maybe that's what she's done, reverted to what is most comfortable, to what she knows best, but really her Nikes probably would have served her better at a time like this though she's never really been through a time like this never found herself sitting on the edge of a cot in a darkened gym of a high school she never even knew existed before though it's only about a twenty minute drive from where she lived – no, she lives – and she shuffles her feet on the gym floor and she wonders about the teenage basketball players, the ones who on a usual Friday night, but not this Friday night, would be running back and forth across the court where now all the cots are laid out in neat rows and covered with blue wool blankets, if the boys, though these days there could be girls though in this small town she doubts any of them would be girls, that girls here, though she doesn't really know any personally she only knows them by sight like when she sees them at Wal-Mart or when they cut in front of her at the taco shop, that the girls here tend to want to be as sophisticated as the town they live in is not and she feels sure that the basketball team of this school would be all boys and she looks up and she sees BRAVES written in large red letters on the far wall over the hoop and she notices the emergency light glowing in the hallway that leads to the locker rooms, to the girls and boys bathrooms, though she only knows about the rooms because she's been told by the volunteer who pointed her to her cot, the cot she's sitting on now, and not because she's been to either the locker room or the bathroom because she hasn't, she hasn't left her cot or her blanket and she hasn't spoken to anyone only been spoken to, and she hasn't read anything, not a book or a magazine not even a pamphlet, only BRAVES, B-R-A-V-E-S, and she thinks that it's really not correct any more, not politically correct, to name a team BRAVES and she wonders why the school authorities, the principal or the vice-principal, why they haven't gotten around to changing the name and she thinks it's especially bad as this high school in whose gym she has taken shelter, this place that really isn't so far from the house where she lived – no, no, she lives – is surrounded by not one but three Indian reservations which she knows about personally and not theoretically like the girls who probably don't play on the basketball team because she has been to the Indian casinos not once but several times, never alone but with friends, never winning but losing, though once she thought she was going to win because two of the three wheels on the nickel slot she played came up cherries, but she didn't win like the Indians didn't win though she thinks they are catching up, making up for lost time with all their casinos, but that night when she'd almost won, but hadn't won, she wasn't really surprised because she never won and she wonders if the Indians are surprised they are winning now and she looks at the rows of strangers hunched over on their cots each with their own blue blankets and she swings her legs and she shuffles her flip flops back and forth across the gym floor and she feels sure that tonight like that night at the Indian casino, that tonight she is going to lose and she zips up her gray sweatshirt and she pulls its hood over her head and she knows and she knows that tonight the flames, the coming flames, will win.

:: Next ::

Not Enough Night
Not Enough Night
© 2012 Naropa University