The Academy 1K

The Academy fencers walk past Butch and me like we’re not there, but they all nod to Annie, Wanda even smiles at her and says “Hi Annie.” My goal for today is to do well enough so that the Academy fencers start calling me by name.

Annie walks over and talks to them — now Butch and I are invisible even to her. I remember this from the spring, nobody paying attention to me, not even my own teammates.

Butch calls to me. I turn, see him smile, point to an open area of the floor. “Let’s get stretched out,” he says. For the first time that morning, I’m really glad Butch is here, really glad that Butch decided to join the fencing team. He and I have been buddies since grade school, some days the only thing good about going to school is seeing Butch. Now that we’re in high school we’re not taking any of the same classes no more. Him being in fencing means we get to hang out more, and it makes the team more fun. Everybody seems to enjoy having Butch on the team, even Double-J, who’s had some very public rows with his father, Reverend Goodman.

Butch and me spread our legs wide, like Coach Dan showed us, reach down and touch the floor with our knuckles. It’s just Butch and me now, Annie can go play with her buddies at the Academy if she wants, I don’t care anymore.

Then she has to go ruin it by walking over towards us with Wanda. They start stretching out without even talking to us first. Not that they needed our permission or anything, but it just seemed kinda rude to me. They talk back and forth for a while as we go through our stretches — legs, trunk, arms, neck — we’re about to start our lunge stretches when I hear Wanda say the word scholarship.

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