B is for Balls by Kara Vernor

In high school, when a boy threw a ball and another boy caught it, I banged two pom-poms together a few times.

When a boy caught a ball behind the end zone’s white line, I banged two pom-poms and kicked a leg. My crotch was wrapped in blue.

There were thirteen of us who bounced and banged.

When the boys gathered on a field mowed for Friday night, the townspeople mobbed the border. These watchers sat on seats called bleachers because boys could throw balls for three hours with the break they took halfway through. When the throwing of balls exhausted the boys, they resorted to their butts like watchers on bleachers, but not we. We stood and shouted and danced and banged for three hours, sometimes more.

On days when boys threw balls, we covered our butts in mini skirts. We recognized the relationship between our nakedness and their confidence, and it was said frostbite was not worse than Nair. While our legs encouraged boys to throw their balls, the townspeople enjoyed the school-sanctioned opportunity to see the whole lengths of our allegiant legs. They appreciated our legs for their service.

School officials otherwise required taller skirts. Short skirts were a violation and declaration unless worn for ball-throwing boys and the townspeople who ran their eyes up our flagpole limbs. It was true, townspeople needed more than strictly boys and the balls that flew between them, but not we. We had never been served by need.

 

Kara Vernor’s fiction has appeared in Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Ninth Letter, The Los Angeles Review, and elsewhere. She was the recipient of an Elizabeth George Foundation scholarship, and her writing has been included in Wigleaf’s Top 50 Very Short Fictions, Best Small Fictions 2019, and Golden State 2017: Best New Writing from California. Her flash fiction chapbook, Because I Wanted to Write You a Pop Song, is available from Split Lip Press.

One thought on “B is for Balls by Kara Vernor

  1. I love this. Lines like “We recognized the relationship between our nakedness and their confidence…” and “Short skirts were a violation and declaration unless worn for ball-throwing boys and the townspeople who ran their eyes up our flagpole limbs” are simple yet powerful.

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