Guy HaterBy: J. Sterling
Who we fall in love with isn’t always a choice. Hell, most of the time it isn’t a choice. It’s more like an indescribable pull, a connection, an invisible thread that binds our heart to another person’s whether we want it to or not. I’ve learned this year, more than any other in my lifetime, that love is the most powerful force on earth.
Don’t worry; I can hear you saying it. Duh, Jenn, I know.
Love can challenge every single one of your beliefs. It has the potential to turn you into someone you don’t recognize. And it can save you.
Love can save you.
It can help you find your way out of the darkness and into the light. It can guide you safely to shore when you thought you’d drown at sea. It can change everything.
I hope you find the kind of love that changes it all. And I hope you’re happy. I really, really hope you’re happy, because if you’re not, then what’s the point?
Find your joy.
Chase it. Live in it. Drown in it.
And then share it with the whole damn world! You deserve it.
When I opened my eyes, harsh hospital lights temporarily blinded me, causing me to forget where I was. Without thinking, I tried to prop myself up on the bed and groaned as my right arm and shoulder exploded with pain. Fuck.
It was a real shit thing, remembering that your dream had been obliterated to dust. Yes, I could choose to rehab my shoulder after surgery, but I was out for the rest of this season and most likely part of the next.
When you played college baseball, there wasn’t that kind of time. You didn’t have the luxury of recuperating on the bench for almost two seasons. New players would join the team and pass you by, replacing you on the field, and just like that, you’d be forgotten.
It wasn’t bad enough that the collision at third base had dislocated my shoulder on impact. No, my doctors discovered that I had a torn labrum—cartilage in my shoulder socket—when they assessed the damage. No one knew how long the labrum had been breaking down because I’d kept playing through the discomfort this season, even when my arm felt more than a little sore. I knew better than to do that, but hated admitting that I was hurt.
In all honesty, I’d been lucky they’d even found the tear. It wasn’t something that fixed itself on its own or got better with rest and time. No, a torn labrum required surgery in order to heal, and the prognosis wasn’t good. Most players never recovered from a torn labrum, and I knew it.
In the time it took to throw a baseball or swing a bat, everything I’d worked so hard for as long as I could remember was gone. If I could have snapped my fingers to reiterate the point to myself, I would have.
But I couldn’t.
Because my fucking shoulder was destroyed, and I couldn’t move my arm.
My girlfriend’s voice cut through my pity party, and I turned my head to meet her eyes. My relationship with Shelby was brand new, we’d only recently started dating, and I was certain it was about to end as quickly as it had begun.
I expected to find her looking either as sad or as devastated as I was, but she wasn’t. She seemed calm, a small smile tugging at her lips. She was a sweet girl, someone I could fall in love with someday. Well, as much as I could fall in love with anything other than baseball.
But there was no baseball for me anymore.
What the hell was I going to do with my life? I had no backup plan because there was never a reason to. Getting hurt had never crossed my mind . . . all I’d been able to think about was going pro.
“How long have you been here?” I tried not to sound like a dick, but my thoughts were focused on life-changing questions like, What am I going to do now? Who am I going to be?
Shelby shrugged, and her long brown hair fell over her shoulder.
“You don’t have to stay,” I grumbled. “I know you have classes.”
She pulled her chair closer to my bed. “I’ve already talked to my professors. I’m going to stay, if that’s okay.”
“Are you sure? You realize my career’s over, right?” I practically barked at her. “You sure you want to hang out with a has-been?” It was irrational and mean, but I was mad and she was the only one in the room with me, so I directed my frustration at her.