T2 had been dishing it out all week. Fifteen-year-old T1 is dating a girl whose sister is the same age as T2, and the younger generation has made it their mission to report on every cuddle or kiss.
So the Committee on Perfect Parenting will forgive me if I was suspicious of T1’s motives when I saw him carrying a bat as he hustled his younger brother out the door. Still, I said nothing as T2 skipped to the yard, tossing his ball up in the air and catching it just before it went astray into one of the windows.
“I am gonna really beat up your hand,” I heard T1 yell as he tossed the bat to the side and put on his glove. T2 grinned, threw the ball to T1 and squatted into a catching position. T1 wound up his pitch, and I got out of my chair, ready to referee at the top of my lungs through the window if needed.
Then he let the ball fly.
It was just a little outside the imaginary strike zone, but T2 was ready. He rose up slightly and leaned to the right, grabbing the ball with the net of his glove. I could hear the THWAK through the glass, but T2 was still grinning.
“Good job,” T1 yelled. “You got it right on the first one.”
“I don’t think the our pitcher throws that hard,” T2 laughed.
“I know,” T1, “But if you can catch all of mine, you’ll be set for the summer.” He wound up for another pitch. “Now watch out, this one’s gonna be inside — you missed a few on the last game.” As his arm went back, I knew what I had to do.
I knocked on the glass to get their attention and waved and yelled, “Turn the other way so you don’t hit my car!” Then, with just a smidge of satisfaction, I sat back in my rocker with my paints and pad and went back to painting.