My sweating palms clutch her tennis sweater. Oversized white cable knit, blue and red stripes at the collar and each side of the ends of the sleeves, alligator logo, Lacoste. 1987. I saved the sweater from my summer—été—in the French countryside.
I can still smell the sweet lavender summer nights woven in the threads of her tennis sweater. Smudges of dusty maroon stain the end of the right sleeve, exposing her first love affair: tennis on clay.
I can still see her, alarming features I’d never seen in a person before or after; features so noticeable and addicting as the pungent piles of ripe peaches pandering in outdoor market stands for consumption: a gap playfully placed at the center of her front teeth, thick brown hair any girl would die for with fringy bangs that danced on top of old soul orbs, dark olive dewy skin made up of the entirety of the sun.
As I walked down the dusty road scuffing my hand-me-down tennis sneakers, she lounged past by bicycle. Out of nowhere, really. It was a peach cruiser.
White ruffled lace socks hugged lean, dark calves. A white pleated mini skirt dared to ride higher. Dark hair tied back in a white ribbon bounced against a brown Prince Woodie tennis racket case strapped to her back—the same racket on my back. And the oversized white cable knit sweater. A tennis icon. She turned her head back to look at me. Oversized rose-tinted aviator sunglasses hid her eyes and cheeks. Then, gone. Past the green horizon.
Was she going where I was going?