Friday, August 1, 2008

A game of basketball at the police station

Strange encounters

They need a precise map and I run to go get mine but I remember that I forgot it on the bed in the hotel room. He tells me where he put it and I go get it. I bring it to Alex the Australian who along with Ruth, the man I spoke to this morning’s son, will try to find a better place to watch the eclipse. In this city, the trees and clouds aren’t on our side. Alex sees that I’m struggling to find a solution to watch the eclipse without damaging my eyes. He proposes giving me black and white films to watch the eclipse through. But Ruth’s mother who is worried about our eyes gives us special glasses for the eclipse. I thank her and figure that’s one problem solved. Meanwhile dad, used to talking to everyone, stays alone in a corner and puts his head in his hands. I’m used to these moments of meditation, I’m not worried and I keep talking with the others. After a while, I notice a basketball ball rolling on the court that belongs to the police station and that is located in the station’s large yard. Jumping with joy, I join the three Texans to play. I take the ball, shoot and miss, then pass it to another and he misses, then he passes again to a young and rather strong blonde Texan who plays on his university’s rugby team. Giving the ball back to me, he passes it like he would in rugby. I get behind the three-point line and I dribble for a long time, shoot and score a basket; that makes three points but since we’re not actually doing a match it doesn’t count. The British who played with us but kept missing decides to leave us. We end up being four players and play a half-court game. Under a harsh sun and sweat dripping from my body, I play, run and try to get the ball but my adversaries are very strong and twice my size. I’m happy because I love playing basketball. Finally we lose 10 to 5 and I scored 2 of the 5 points for my team, I’m happy. We stop playing and freshen up. It’s a kind of half-time. Meanwhile, I call my grandparents and tell them that the police stopped us, that we’re in a police station and waiting but I reassure them by saying we were able to eat and that we’re even playing basketball. My grandfather says laughing: “life is beautiful” and my grandmother asks me if I slept there. I tell her no. I’m glad to have them on the phone because I miss them a lot. After playing basketball for an hour, I see two women arriving, a mother and a daughter that are dressed as though they were coming from a beach in Saint-Tropez. The mother has a very fancy handbag. When they arrive, we tell them jokingly that they’re late! With their accent in English, I wonder if they’re not from a Spanish-speaking country. Since the mother has a T-shirt with “Venezuela” written on it, I wonder if they’re not Venezuelan. They are being questioned. Everyone is ready, but the village’s police chief tells us he can’t do anything for us and has to wait for the chiefs from the prefecture in Kurul.

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