“Take the Hit”
Is a chapter excerpt from
December 28th, 2009
Every once in awhile I just need to be anonymous, invisible to everyone so I can recharge my batteries to be able to fight my daily battle.
The Superhero power I wish for the most is not from Superman or Spiderman, it is from Bert from “Soap,” the ability to cross my forearms in front of my chest and snap my fingers and become invisible.
Just for a few minutes.
To be able to create a protective shield around me so nothing can get in, just for enough time to regain my composure and continue fighting.
Sometimes I do this by sitting by myself in my car before I head back into my house after going to the market, or sometimes I stroll outside and wander for a few minutes.
A few minutes of solitude does wonders for me.
Today, something told me, as I was driving home from the hospital, that I should become invisible at Boston Market.
It didn’t make any sense, as dinner was waiting for me at home.
So I enter the restaurant, I find an out of the way table in the corner, and I become invisible.
Or so I thought.
As I was sitting down biting into my Chicken Carver Sandwich, I see “Adult Large’s” dad walk through the vestibule, look around the store and immediately make a beeline towards me.
I guess my superpowers of invisibility are not working today.
I fondly call him, “Adult Large’s” dad because six years ago when I was helping to run the Little League in my town, and we were placing orders for our Major League Replica uniforms at 2 a.m., we came across an order for an “L” jersey for a player. The order did not specify if it should be a youth large or an adult large. Being there was no phone number on the application, and the order had to be in by the first thing in the morning, we needed to make an executive decision.
We ordered an adult large custom Major League replica jersey.
For the smallest kid in the league.
The jersey acted like a parachute as he ran the bases.
Hence the name “Adult-Large.”
It has been six years since I have seen “Adult-Larges’” dad.
He is now standing over my shoulder and asks, “Do you mind if I sit down?”
“Please do,” I respond.
I find it weird that he does not order any food.
He starts out by saying “You know I have never been in a Boston Market in my entire life.” He pauses, and adds, “I was driving around aimlessly and something told me to stop. I didn’t know why until I got to the door and I saw you.”
He now has my attention.
“I am really sorry to hear about Jess,” he says with genuine sadness.
“Thank you,” I say.
“How is little Johnny?” I inquire.
“He is killing my family and me. He has lost his way,” he bluntly shares with me.
“That is the reason I was driving around tonight. I just had to leave the house. It’s bad. Really bad.”
He adds, “I have done everything I could do. I’m done.
Do you know he just came at me with a bat?”
I can see he is at the end of his rope, and this is dominating his life.
He confesses, “I am walking away from him. What else am I supposed to do?”
“Take the hit,” I say.
“What do you mean, ‘take the hit?’”
“I mean, when he comes after you with the bat, ‘take the hit,’, I say with passion.
“Are you crazy? That would hurt so much. He would break my ribs,” he spurts out.
“You are right. It is going to hurt like hell. But your ribs will eventually heal.
If you walk away, I guarantee it will hurt much more than broken ribs, and that hurt will never go away.”
I pause, and I say it again, “Take the hit.”
“Take the hit,” he slowly says under his breath.
“Whose team are you on?” I ask him.
“I don’t follow you. What do you mean whose team am I on?” he asks.
“I mean, you want your son back, and there are forces in this world that want to take him from you. There is a battle going on. Sides have been taken, John’s team is his family, and the other team is everything you don’t want for your son. Walking away is the exact thing the other side wants. Instead of walking away, you need to fight.”
I add, “Treat a man as he is, and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he could be and he will become what he should be.” I have no idea where that just came from but it just effortlessly flowed out of my mouth. It must be the hundreds of hours of reading I have been doing at Jess’s bedside.
“I am telling you, and I need you to listen. Don’t you ever walk away from your son, no matter what he has done. You need to fight to get him back. You are on his team, not theirs.”
Before my eyes, I could see what once was a smoldering fire, ready to be put out, turn back into a flame. Adult Large’s dad’s eyes and heart are alive again, saved from the circumstances of life.
“Adult Large’s” dad and I wind up talking until there are no other patrons in the restaurant.
As we eventually get up to leave, we both acknowledge that we were meant to find each other on this particular night.
I cross my arms over my chest and snap my fingers.
It is time to go home and eat dinner.
“Take the Hit”
Is a chapter excerpt from