It was a moderate Florida Feb morning about 7:30, and Ellie and I were standing on the tennis court facing B. and L. B. often seemed to me like an unhealthy combination of egomaniac and paranoid, and this morning he seemed as obnoxious as usual. L. was a tall black school teacher from Chicago and the best tennis player of the four.
A man stopped at the court with an early blossom (Japanese magnolia perhaps). B. walked off the court to engage him in conversation. More peppery than usual that morning, I directed him to get back on the court so we could play, inviting a heated rejoinder.
Out of the corner of my eye I saw L standing there at the service line with his arms outstretched like Christ might do. The discussion escalated, and I snapped 'shut the f...ing up;' at that point L was standing with prayerful hands in a posture of supplication.
The game went on. This morning, about a week later the scene returns. I'll remember that scene til my dying day.
Thanks for reading.