I don’t think people in our sad little town realized that Charlie’s high school prowess and miniscule minor league career was just a microscopic drop in the vast bucket of sports, because they all seemed to think he was cursed because he never worked his way up past the level of that little team in Delaware after six years of trying. People believe that the curse was officially cemented in demented stone when Charlie broke his arm after pitching the first perfect game of his career. Maybe, if I knew what “perfect game” actually meant, it would hit me a little harder, but since I didn’t, I think it was bullshit.
Based on these stories about all of my siblings, it might seem that I am the one sibling who hasn’t experienced the curse, but that couldn’t be any further from the truth. The wheelchair I sit in as I type this into an ancient version of Word on a dirty laptop in the dingy little trailer in the same town I did Girl Scout’s in can confirm that.
I actually think I might be the most cursed of any of us as I didn’t get the luck to peace out from this shitty existence as quickly as Atchley or Jonathan did, or a free ticket out of town and small-time groupies who pretend like my ability to throw a little leather ball can overshadow all of my other flaws like Charlie. I got stuck in our no-horse town, in the little double wide our parents raised us in and died in, with my only source of life coming from the Internet connection which allowed me to live my life digitally through Facebook and Instagram.
The curse hit me when the Toyota hatchback that served as my taxi back from my last high school party crashed into a tree. My drunk boyfriend behind the wheel passed out and drove our dumpy little chariot into a powerful oak tree which almost ripped me clean in half.
I survived. Brad didn’t, but over time I have begun to wonder if he was the lucky one.
A former all-league softball player who spent her weekends riding four wheelers with her brothers and boyfriends growing up, I had active blood in my system. Being confined to a chair didn’t exactly suit my blood, brain, or bones well. I woke up every morning feeling like I was glued to the sad, cold Earth and I could barely force myself to roll over onto the floor and hate life for a few minutes before I worked my way into my wheelchair.
But enough about that. This isn’t a “poor me” story.
The morning started even worse than usual. I woke up in the blue dark of the first sunrise with a cotton mouth thoroughly dried out by the salty pile of Ragu and noodles I wolfed down late last night before a Netflix binge session.
I reached for the half-full glass of water I left on the nightstand next to my bed for this exact situation, but misjudged where it was and sent it tumbling to the floor where it landed on top of my wide open laptop. I may have been able to save my decade-old Dell had I not been paralyzed from the waist down, but the damage had been done by the time I got down there. My portal to the outside world was officially shot and I didn’t have the money to replace it anytime soon.
After a few hours of restless morning sleep and sulking, I greeted the day and my sad cup of Folgers and tried to do the math on how much of my disability checks I would have to save to be able to buy a new laptop within a few months. I was in the middle of adding up how many meals I was going to have to skip to make that happen when my answer popped into my head.
It came in the mail a few months ago with an apology from our new, local postmaster. The new postmaster explained the bitter, old previous postmaster who was far beyond his years would occasionally simply forget to deliver some mail and instead of delivering it days later, would just chuck it in storage because he was worried about someone who got the delivery reporting his mistake. Apparently, the new postmaster found his stash when he started and started sending out the delayed mail.
I did the same exact thing as that postmaster. I never opened the box, just put it in Jonathan’s old room and let it sit there. Jonathan used to always send boxes of crap to me to store at the house because he lived in a tiny studio apartment in Washington D.C. and he knew I had plenty of space to store that stuff, living in the trailer by myself with almost no possessions.
I remembered the box being heavy though. Maybe there was an old laptop in it? Jonathan went through computers like Pete Townshend guitars in 1969.