Title: Closing the game
Fandom: The girl who loved Tom Gordon
Summary: Trisha's life after returning from the woods. Growing up and all that has never left her.
Disclaimer: Characters belong to Stephen King.
Author's Note: I hope it's okay to post fan-fic here since I haven't seen anyone do it. "The girl who loved Tom Gordon" is my favorite book by Stephen King, so I was trying to work a little with the symbolism used in the novel.
She had met him at Sharon’s place. First she had not wanted to go, but Pepsi had insisted, so she came, not wanting to irk the other girl any further. Silence stretched between them these days, making her feel like the closeness she had shared with her former best friend in those years ago was now long gone.
He was two years older than her and silently she thought of him as a bit of a nerd with his quick thinking and slightly gawky mannerism.
“So, you are the girl who walked half-way to Montreal” he said jokingly when they had broached that subject.
She only nodded, because part of it was still a secret, buried inside her like something terrible and holy. The trout and the crow that had hung upside down from a branch as well as the Wasp Priest.
He walked her home later that evening. They took the shortcut through the park and just when he had fallen back a bit, he jumped at her in a mock-attempt to scare her, grinning widely.
They both laughed.
Pepsi often grew irritated with her these days. Pepsi who had begun to wear too much cherry lip-gloss this year and had become too extroverted for her own good while she remained plain, collected and maybe a tad boring.
Only once had she tried to talk about what had happened in the woods with her friend.
“Must have been horrible” she had said with genuine horror and empathy in her voice.
“Yes” she answered. “And beautiful and everything else.”
Pepsi looked at her disbelieving. Her lips pulled up in a not-quite sneer. “Beautiful? What’s beautiful about muck and roots?”
She shrugged, telling her about the clearing, the beauty that had been no idyll and the feeling to be truly full for the first time in her life.
After she had finished Pepsi only shook her head. Trisha never told her of the God of the Lost.
“Stop hiding” Pepsi told her later. “If you don’t speak up people are never going to notice you.”
But because she was no longer nine and ready to be leaded by her best friend she replied: “No, it’s alright.” And then, because she was in certain ways older than Peter and most certainly than Penelope who was in fact the one who masked herself in things she was not. “Most of the time I like myself how I am.”
She sat with him in a diner. Drinking Cola and eating apple pie and non-forest things, thinking how easy it was to be with him.
And he did not look a thing like Tom Gordon.
Pepsi stopped calling in March and when her mother asked why she only said that they had drifted apart over the years whatever that meant.
She walked the streets that evening without heading anywhere particular, noticed how silent the town could be when there were few people out in the late Sunday light.
She imagined that the stillness filled the place, crept over concrete ground and rooftops, pictured it as a great river of silence that flowed beneath this place and surfaced in that un-world that had been the woods beside the Appalachian Trail. Something that even though it was not always noticed, was in fact omnipresent.
Trisha too thought about her father, who had lived with a rivulet born of that torrent in his yard overgrown with weed and much too high grass. Maybe it had been the god of the lost whispering to him from those watery depths, making him cower at the crossroads beside his loop-sided garden goblins.
And Pepsi was no longer her friend. “So, Patricia McFarland” she thought to herself “where do I go from here?”
In the year after she had returned from the forest she took up Baseball.
[She visualized the bear –that thing that was in fact not what it seemed to be- struck out and threw the tiny leather ball.]
He was there after the game.
“You play well” he told her as they sat on one of the washed concrete benches around the now empty court.
“I do it for the fun of it” she said.
Her naked toes looked very pale against the asphalt. She had discarded her shoes neatly by her side when she had joined him.
It was two weeks into June and the air already stifling hot. For a moment they sat in silence and it felt good to have him here.
She returned to the woods. Walked on a trail that was very much like those paths she had once walked with her mother in the Disney-neat forests of her home. Those without underbrush and where the trees had been planted in neat rows that were still half-way discernible.
The god of the lost was there, too. Here at the edge of the consciousness, embedded in that great stream of silence that flowed beneath all things.
But she was alive and whole in any way a person could be.
Standing there amidst the green that had once encompassed her so completely, she raised her hand to point at the skies.
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