There wasn't much room left in any of my bags, and I just stood there next to my bed. I'd already packed all the usual stuff, books and tapes and turkey sandwiches.
For some reason I hadn't taken any of it up in September. Maybe I was overwhelmed by the prospect of actually going back.
I'd left it at home, not realizing how much I'd need to bring it along now, after Thanksgiving, while the sun still shines once in a while, before everything gets covered in snow or if not snow then something, a freezing, that doesn't go away until spring.
So I stood next to my bed, glanced at my cleats and glove and bat and tried to figure out where to fit them.
The cleats were white, the Puma kind with the little white leather swoops that you can't really make out from the rest of the shoe unless they're really dirty, and then the dirt just cakes around the edges of the groove and there you go--white-on-white swirls, defined.
I got them freshman year, high school, spring.
I played JV that year, shortstop when the sophomore who'd been starting decided to become a dancer, and we were sitting at the lower field at Central Catholic, waiting for the JV guys to finish so we could get out of there.
Sue reached over for a dandelion, and just squished it and spread the juice all over my shoes, my new shoes, and said welcome to the dandelion club.
She did it to everyone else, and it was kind of a team thing, and I've still got the shoes and they've still got the dandelion streaks, right there on the white swirls.
I got the glove the next year when I left my old Rico Petrocelli one in the locker the last day of school and some janitor just dumped it.
It had been my first glove, back from Little League when I knew I'd be the first girl to play for the Sox, figuring I'd take over at second when Denny Doyle retired.
The new glove was larger, maybe I accepted--though I didn't admit it--that it would be softball not hardball now--not counting pickle in the backyard, or catch with my brother when the ground is just thawing in March and all the little bumps kind of squish under your feet.
I broke it in anyways, rubbed in some oil and slept with it under my pillow.
And I got the blue bat the same year, also for softball, the kind that says EASTON in big yellow letters on one side and SMOKE on the other.