I thought this week I’d post a short story. I hope you enjoy it.
Anyone for cricket?
Stella stifled a yawn, which she hastily tried to turn into an interested smile when Johnathon glanced over at her. She watched as he moved forward on his seat, an expression of intense excitement on his face. It was not directed at her, however. It was for whatever was happening on the television.
Stella was genuinely puzzled. The commentator seemed to be speaking in a foreign language much of the time and what he said in plain English appeared to be less about what the cricketers were doing – not very much from what she could see – and more about the weather and the state of the pitch. Sorry, not pitch … wicket? Yes, wicket. But then, she thought crossly, when Johnathan had explained the game to her it turned out the word wicket could be applied to all manner of things from the bit of ground between those stick things the men ran up and down between (strangely infrequently, she thought, as that was supposedly the point of the game) to hitting those sticks and being out – or even being not out.
She sighed, rearranged herself more alluringly on Johnathan’s lumpy sofa, and reached a hand to stroke his hair. He caught her hand, kissed it but kept his eyes on the screen. Her last boyfriend had been a footie fan. She’d learnt the off-side rule without a problem. Hadn’t enjoyed trailing off to watch his team’s every home game in the freezing cold. She thought cricket would be sunshine and cucumber sandwiches and Pimms at half time. Hadn’t expected to watch it on television. Nor realised she’d be expected to learn a whole new vocabulary.
Googly – the explanation made no sense. ‘It’s the legspinner’s variation that turns into the right-hander and away from the left-hander,’ Johnathan told her. As for beamer, maiden, jaffa, doosra, dolly and duck…
Stella sighed again. Considered her relationship with Johnathan. Gorgeous, he’d look amazing in that white outfit. But he was a spectator, not a player. Good in bed. Conversation out of it wasn’t great.
She turned her attention back to the screen. A man was furiously rubbing the ball – it probably wasn’t even called a ball, she thought – up and down on this thigh. Stella shifted uncomfortably on the sofa. It looked faintly obscene. Johnathan must’ve sensed her lack of understanding. ‘It makes the ball faster,’ he explained.
Ah, so it was called a ball. She’d got something right. She watched the man running towards the bit from where he’d throw the ball. The bowler (she was getting to grips with the jargon now) threw the ball. Nothing happened. The commentator was saying something incomprehensible about an inside-out shot. The players strolled around for a bit. Then, the furious rubbing started again.
Stella reached for her coat.