The hardened clay beneath my feet is a drab mixture of dark green, maroon and gray. Indistinct white lines map out the boundaries for the game although mother nature has battered away most of the paint. To each side of my periphery there is an isolated yellow pole, about 3 feet tall, whose bygone purpose is not immediately clear. Endless cracks in the surface suggest that no one has hit a tennis ball here in many years.
I am facing West. I know this because the day is ending and the sun is eye level in front of me flinging brilliant orange rays onto the trees to my right. The light is obstructed by more trees to the west which cast a shadow over the tennis court and the grass surrounding it. Directly behind me are two wooden benches in a narrow patch of grass pointing at a basketball court which is also decaying. The rusted chain link fence shielding the basketball court is dented and misshapen in the section by the benches due to people using it as a footrest. Over my left shoulder I can see the front door of my home across the street. In fact, I’m in close enough proximity that I could toss a rock and hit my door. Although I wouldn’t toss a rock for fear of hitting my wife as she steps outside.
As the sun drops below the trees my mind travels back and forth through time over vivid memories of the ground I’m standing on. While both courts are empty under this present sunset, I can see a decade worth of activity all around me. I see my best friends laughing wildly and their parents offering me delicious meals. I hear music blasting from the benches behind me and neighborhood children playing on the rope swing by the corner. I feel my heart race during a brisk game of basketball and my heart race faster as my future wife glances over at me from her family’s driveway. Of course this is all reminiscence as I am alone in this moment, watching the sunset.
Behind my eyes my most vivid memories are passing by. In front of my eyes the sky is turning orange as the sun withdraws for the night. This place has given me friends I would kill for and the woman of my dreams but now I must rely on the vivid memories to watch the sunset from my favorite old tennis court.