Chance. Fate. You can pick whichever one you like. When I met her, it seemed like chance. Looking back, I’m not so sure. It became a yearning strong enough to wake me up from a dead sleep, perspiring and confused, mouth frozen in a silent scream, as if I were trapped in the 8mm movie of my own birth. How could an attraction like that be chance?
The universe can’t be that random.
I first heard about her 13 years ago. This guy I knew from around the way introduced us. She was beautiful then. A vision of simple perfection. If you had told me she would get even more compelling, more paradisiacal, well, I wouldn’t have believed you. I probably would have asked you to leave. I’m not a religious man, but I still believe in blasphemy.
Elegant. Subtle. But I was able to forget her, see? That was the difference back then. She could come in and out of my life, and I would admire the hell out of her when she was there. But I could get away without chewing off one of my limbs, high on disbelief and desire. I could stop staring when I wanted to.
Then, one day about ten years ago, I met her again, but I couldn’t stop staring this time. I knew it was rude at best, threatening at worst, but I couldn’t help it. If she minded, she didn’t say anything. She had to notice. I’m not sure if the silence was because she was being polite, or if it was because she was petrified. But I could not stop. Could not.
Come away with me, I wanted to shout. Let’s just get away together, go somewhere where I can stare at you forever. But how could I shout that without seeming like a freak? Or, rather, without betraying my true nature? Without announcing the kind of freak I had become?
And as I was retreating into my own cavernous obsession, she was getting bolder, taunting me. Was she doing it on purpose? She must have known what it was doing to me. She had to have been doing it on purpose. Bolder and bolder. So bold. I couldn’t take it. She must have known what it was doing to me. I never stopped staring. I could go hours without breaking eye contact. She never said a word. Bolder and bolder.
Some people started to say she was bad news, damaged goods. Some people said she wasn’t on the up and up, that she was nothing but a bundle of deceit and lies. Maybe. But I didn’t care. I was too far gone.
She changed her numbers regularly. It didn’t matter. I would always find the new ones. I wanted to carve them on my arm. I might have carved them on my arm. When I would get the new numbers, I would whisper them over and over again like a private invocation, or a summoning of a spell that would take me away from the flames of hellfire that would lick around my body when I wasn’t with her.
582-799-1381. I had it memorized ten seconds after I first saw it. Then a year later, I’d get word it was different. 529-749-1278. These new numbers didn’t force the old ones out of my mind. The numbers would dance around in my mind, bedazzled guests in the black-tie gala of my subconscious. 609-812-1422. Oh, god.
Right when I had given up hope processing this all, she slipped me a note. Did she really slip it to me, or did I just pretend she did? Looking back, I’m pretty sure the note was just there, waiting for me. It was cryptic. A code that only I could understand. “IBB: 120.”
I knew what it meant. And it couldn’t have been real.
It couldn’t have been real.
But it was.
And because it was real, I knew I was never going to let her out of my sight.
I needed to keep her with me at all times, keep a piece of her in my pocket at all times.
I took her. I kept her in a box, a silver box that I would open whenever it had been too long. I would flip open the lid, and her glow would reflect off my glassy eyes. She stopped changing. She never said a word. I think she understood.
Also, this story is about Barry Bonds’s Baseball Reference page, and I’m calling it a “she” because I want to have sex with it.
Grant Brisbee writes about the Giants at McCovey Chronicles, and about baseball in general at Baseball Nation. If you thought this was weird, don’t read what he writes about Buster Posey in his diary.
Doctors Without Borders is an international medical organization that provides independent, impartial assistance in more than 60 countries to people whose survival has been threatened by violence, neglect, or catastrophe. Please help us reach our goal of $3,000 by donating here.