I was playing catch with my oldest daughter in the back yard when she missed the ball. It hit her in the upper lip and she started bleeding and crying and doing her best to play it off as if she could take it. The onslaught of emotion caused by that little superficial cut turned her into a zombie; she wondered around the back yard with her tear blurred vision until I convinced her that catch could be played some other time. It was about to rain anyway.
We went inside and she sat on the couch deep in thought. She looked at me and asked one of those great “what ifs” that children seem to spit out like watermelon seeds. What if the baseball could come to life overnight because of the storm? Would it apologize for avoiding her glove? I love the way children tend to animate intimate objects with wonderful and childish sentiment.
Of course I went the macabre route and suggested that after being struck by lightning, the ball would come to life Frankenball style and come after my daughter to finish the job. It’d be easy for the ball to track her down because it had already gotten a taste of her blood. My daughter looked at me like I had no common sense whatsoever and said that if the ball did track her down, it would be to apologize and make friends because now that it was alive, it would be really “loveaball”. It’s cheesy as hell but I smiled.
She sat and considered the possibilities for a while before making me promise to let her keep the ball if it really did come to life (so long as it was a benevolent creature without murderous tendencies). She was serious. Her logic allowed for a very small chance that such a thing might happen and she wanted to make sure all her bases were covered. I’m not sure exactly when it is children stop thinking like this, when the magic dies, but it’ll be a shitty day when it happens.
My daughter went into her room to watch TV with an ice pack and I wrote her the following story to cheer her up. It’s asinine and super short but it worked. I printed it out and signed it and told her it’d be worth millions some day (the same day baseballs come to life).
The baseball spun like a dervish as it flew through the air. Catelynn didn’t catch it. She came close; the ball kissed her leather glove before hitting her in the face. The baseball fell to the gravel followed by a rain of tears and blood. Pure white leather was painted red.
It would rain soon. Catelynn and her father went inside for an ice pack and some love. It was time for TV and careful tooth brushing and eventually bed. The rain started to fall and patter against the roof like a million miniature water balloons. Lightning and thunder punctuated the storm and made everyone inside cuddle a bit closer.
One white bolt, alive and bright against the grey of the storm, struck the baseball with magic. Sparks coursed through the red stitching but it didn’t hurt. It felt good; like the tingle of a nerve.
It’s hard for balls to open doors because they don’t have thumbs but this ball was smart and followed Carrie in after she meowed and meowed to annoy her master into using his thumbs for her. The ball rolled ever so slowly across the carpet. It didn’t want to attract too much attention by rolling quickly. “Humm dee dumm… don’t pay any attention to me. I’m just a little baseball” it whispered.
The baseball rolled into Catelynn’s room and snuggled up against her leg and started purring. Catelynn didn’t notice at first because iCarly was too loud, but when she did, she picked up the baseball with care.
“Oh em gee baseball! Are you alive?” asked Catelynn.
“Yep,” said the baseball “and I’m totally sorry for hitting you in the face.”
“Don’t worry about it.” Catelynn replied. “I can’t be mad at someone who is so darn loveaball.”