The Old Grey Wall
by Paul Liadis
note: This was written as part of a flash fiction writing contest at the blog, The Clarity of Night, back in 2007. Here is a link to the original post. The idea was to write 250 words based on a provided prompt.
For most men, their most fond childhood memory involves playing catch in the backyard with their dad, like the ending of The Natural. Mine’s a little different. Mine is of the old grey wall outside of the apartment Mom and I lived in when I was a boy. We had electricity most of the time, hot water occasionally, but the old grey wall was always there.
Mom used to come home late from work only to find me outside throwing the beat-up Rawlings baseball Grandpa gave me against the wall, imagining I was Ozzie Smith roaming the Busch Stadium infield. I was too small to make the baseball team, but on that gravel filled pavement I was an All Star. For years I was sure I held the record for most throws, 5,429, without a miss and if the Guinness Book of Records people ever happened to be in my neighborhood, I would be famous.
I still return from time to time to my home town to visit my mother, who now lives in a nice little Ranch not too far from the city. That dilapidated excuse of an apartment building burned down a few years ago but the old grey wall remains. I rarely miss the chance to visit my old friend, only now I bring my son with me and we stand in front of that old grey wall and have a catch together. Sometimes, I miss the ball on purpose, just to give my friend a turn.