The weather seemed undecided and Bev, the tennis coach, cancels our lesson.
So I whatsapp 'Group tennis' to find out why she was cancelling. After some back and forth we wonder if we shall call her.
B. whatsappt: ‘Sometimes life is unpredictable, so perhaps we should leave it?’
I app: ‘Oh okay’, while I raise my eyebrows and remember that I'm fortunate not to have bought that false hair.
This is an unexpected turn. It’s like you want to leave punctually and one of the kids has a pants full of poop. It’s like you can’t retrieve that one file on your computer because there is someone playing a game. It’s like you spend an hour in the kitchen and the feedback is: 'Eeugh, yuk, I don’t like this very much.’
We grown-ups though abide by rules, norms and always maintain a promise is a promise. So, rain or no rain, I already resemble Steffi Graf in my tennis dress and in my mind I have already carefully targeted landing balls in all corners of the tennis court.
Just as I’m texting and asking why (the fuck) she won’t come, I visualise her lying in an ambulance with screaming sirens that is transporting her from one hospital to another. Suddenly the ambulance stops, because it has broken down and is caught in a very wild storm. The doctors discuss whether they will operate in the ambulance (...).
Of course this vision could be a result of watching ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ once too often.
So I text her, albeit sheepishly saying: ‘Hi, how are you’ and ‘Is the weather putting you off?’ and suggesting ‘We will be there, so if you want to, you can come’, adding ‘Otherwise a good weekend!’
It is quite a long text message. I don’t even understand a lot of it myself and I think what a hassle this has become and it's not even 7 am yet, however I just press send.
A. (She replies after following the discussion amongst us there):
‘Well, what kind of a discussion was that? I always think: either you call or sms or you don’t call or sms!’
And while she says that, she pretends to serve a ball. Some people have this great feel for a ball. Had it been me, my racket would be stuck in a bush, or I would have hit my own head with it.
Then we go to Wilfred, the guy behind the bar, in order to arrange some balls. Just for fun I ask if he can coach us?
‘Yes, good idea, haha, I'll just get changed. Whose partner will I be?’
We laugh as well and point at each other.
Then we start playing tennis trying our best to keep the balls in the air yelling, ‘Sorry!’ at each other and: ‘Tennis is very difficult if Bev doesn’t hit the balls straight onto your racket don’t you think?!’ And then, all of a sudden Wilfred shows up in his sneakers, wearing a shirt with wide armholes that basketball players normally wear. He enthusiastically, just like a real coach, pushes ahead of himself a basket of tennis balls.
Before we can say anything he positions himself next to B. and also hits a ball over the net.
Okay. Now there are two balls in circulation.
We had just arrived at the conclusion that we already encountered problems with three people and one ball.
We politely keep on hitting balls criss-cross over the net, occasionally using our hands to stop balls. After five minutes we see that this is not going to work and Wilfred says, ‘Let me hand you the balls like Bev does.’ With which we start a physical version of 60 Seconds.
And then I receive a text message from Bev.
Bev didn’t land in some African hospital with quadraplegie, she’s not abandoned by a friend and her house didn’t burn down. She is en route to Mozambique to dive.
So, hope abounds.