Trevor’s Balls

07/22/2009 4:00 AM |

After Dad’s gruesome death, Trevor was all about baseball. It was
all he talked about, all he did. I remember the days before Trevor left
home. After school, he’d heave his backpack onto the kitchen table,
pick up his floppy leathery mitt and hard wooden bat and take off fast
as lightning to the local park where he would play, sometimes alone,
and sometimes with other boys. I’d inspect his backpack before
following him to the park, flipping through his spiral-bound notebook
and Trapper Keeper, to find no vocabulary words or math problems
— only doodles of players and equipment. Adam theorized Trevor
was acting out the defense mechanism of fantasy, obsessing over
baseball so that he wouldn’t have to deal with the loss of his father.
I think Trevor was acting out boyhood because boys love baseball. You
don’t need Freud to tell you that. Adam had other theories for my own
eccentricities, but I don’t need his Psych 101 shit, I have Dr.
Rockbaum, certified psychologist pHdizzle. And Mom, well, she was
obviously in denial for a while, but now everything is pretty much on
the table.

Death is hard on a family, ya know? When we were pretty little, we
tried God for a minute. We went to church where we learned about
heaven. The minister said Dad was in heaven looking down on us. I think
that’s why, when Trevor was eight, he thought his balls would get to
Dad, but gravity — and maybe gravity is just a mean trick God
plays when people try to access Him or Her — always sent those
balls right back down, bouncing once and then twice and then three
times on the grass, and rolling for a few moments until they settled,
flattening the blades as they did. But we’re not into God anymore.
After about a month, we didn’t go to church and so — except for
those moments when Trevor thwacked his balls toward the sky — I
forgot about heaven. Mom had always wanted to be an atheist and now
that Dad’s dead she has a good excuse to be one. “After what happened
to Henry,” she would say, “would you believe?!” Mom was right. Dad was
always the religious one, or at least the one telling us to go to
church. Mom was a Jew. Now we’re pretty much all atheists. I think
Trevor still thinks about Dad when he hits those balls. Maybe Dad’s not
in heaven, maybe Dad’s in the velocity of Trevor’s balls as those ripe
fruits of animal skin thwack into oblivion.

Still, even without religion, I am learning there are rules. Mom
said just because we don’t believe in God, that doesn’t mean life is a
“hedonistic buffet.” She said there’s no divine moral structure, but
there is still a human moral structure. I think that makes sense and so
I don’t talk about Trevor’s balls anymore, except to Dr. Rockbaum, the
only person who really understands me. I learned the hard way when I
applied to college. Looking back now, sure, I know college admissions
probably don’t want to know about a girl’s sexual experimentation with
her brother, but hindsight is 20/20 and besides I’m not ashamed. Like I
said, the death of your father is hard on a family and I always thought
colleges liked the “overcoming adversity” stories. This is how I coped
with hard times. Adam loves dudes, Trevor loves baseball, and I love
Trevor. Ok, I’m guilty.

I wrote my college essay about Trevor and me, those times in the
shower, those times in the bedroom, and even though I had nearly
perfect SAT scores, unbeatable grades, and took fourteen AP classes,
where I scored 5 on all the tests except for physics on which I scored
a 4 — I think I appreciate the magic of velocity and don’t want
it reduced to an equation — I still got rejected everywhere
except for a small hippie school on the west coast, where I’ll be
starting this fall. That’s okay though, because I think I have hippie
tendencies, what with my open-mindedness about recreational drug use
and sexuality. I believe experimentation is important for development.
Mom gets mad when I say that, “It’s not experimentation,” she says,
exasperated, “It’s incest!” I suppose I’m being stubborn. I suppose I’m
missing the point, but it’s not like we’re making three-eyed babies. We
just love each other in an intense and unusual sibling way. And
besides, Mom should be happy now that I’m going away to the west coast
where I’ll study radical activism or something equally
anti-establishment and Trevor, well, he’s been playing minor league
baseball for two years now, blowing minds with those wooden