Gabby wasn’t lying. Eden was bizarre as fuck.
Case in point, I was standing at the free-throw line in a dark gym with a 6’4 woman barking at my back.
“If you can make free throws in the dark, you can make them anywhere,” Coach Raphael’s voice called out behind me.
Basketball had brought me to where I stood confused and aggravated in the dark. Who knew being good at something could actually put you in the worst situation of your life.
A stellar junior season in Seattle had put me on the map enough to get a scholarship offer from the University of Oregon to play basketball. The only problem was my academics and three drug habits were bad enough to kick me right back off that map.
My high school coach found a solution floating out in the rough waters of the Puget Sound. He heard about a tiny reform-type school on a small private island in the Puget Sound where a former women’s All-American basketball player he knew was the basketball coach. He figured that if I went out there for my senior year, a complete lack of distractions would help me get my grades together, stay out of trouble and get excellent training from his coach friend, Coach Raphael.
I had no choice in the matter. My parents were onboard once they found out and I was onboard a ferry headed to a town called Eden on the barely populated Kaa Island come September 1st to attend the Corsair Academy and live in a tiny guest cabin at the back of Coach Raphael’s house.
Now here I was in the dark with Coach Raphael barking at me, wishing I had never even played basketball. I needed to make one more shot in the dark before Coach Raphael would dismiss me and I could shower in an old church basement.
A blind shot made in my pocket, I now stood in hot water, making sure shampoo wouldn’t run in my eyes so I could keep them open and alert. The distant sounds of footsteps that stuttered around the small men’s locker room had me on red alert. I hadn’t seen a single other person in the men’s locker room since I started using it upon my arrival at Corsair a couple of weeks ago. No men’s sports were yet in season and I only used the room long after school hours had closed. I initially thought that my ears were playing tricks on me, but the sound of feet were unmistakable when they shuffled just outside of the plastic curtain that separated my wet naked body from the dusty lockers and wooden benches.
I pulled the curtain away so hard the plastic loops ripped off the metal pipe from which it hung. Through my glossy field of vision, I couldn’t see anyone, but I soon heard a chorus of toilets flush just seconds after one another and felt the sting of cold water upon my back.
I danced on my toes out of the shower and fell onto the floor of the locker room where I was greeted by applause and guttural laughter.