Years

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Years seem to go by far too quickly. Life is short, and it is precious. Or at least, it was.

Submitted: March 19, 2016

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Submitted: March 18, 2016

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At the beginning of his life, the first sounds Michael Durantis heard was the sound of heartbeat monitor he was strapped to, as well as his own, pathetic mewling. His mother and father loved him very much, so much so that they were willing to enroll Michael into a newly approved procedure called “The Achilles Treatment”. What this entailed was that a newly born infant, just under a month old, would be placed within an aquatic incubator, which would then be flooded with several cocktails of chemicals, which would increase the body’s lifespan threefold. Under this procedure, nearly 90% of all newborns were expected to live past the age of two hundred.

 

And so begins the life of Michael Durantis.

 

Not long after he was born, Michael Durantis’ parents separated, as many couples in the later twenty-first century tended to do. However, Michael’s father was a neglectful man, far more interested in his career than being a father. He was charged of child neglect and custody was taken away from him. His mother wanted nothing to do with Michael. This left Michael under the watchful care of his paternal grandparents.

 

It was Summer.

 

His grandparents loved Michael, and Michael loved them in return. His grandmother would teach him all about history and tell him stories of her own childhood, whilst his grandfather would play catch with him. Then, one fateful day, they took him to see the Chicago Cub’s opening night against the Seattle Mariners.

 

At first, he did not seem to understand why so many people were enjoying men attempting to hit a ball with a large stick, why so many people clamoured for joy when the ball was hit, no matter how slightly. He didn’t understand why so many people laughed and cheered when nothing much seemed to happen.

 

Then something happened. A loud crack broke through the air, the sound of wood smashing against leather flying through the air at a hundred miles per hour, the small white ball flying through the air like a white comet. And it was headed straight towards. Michael still had the glove from when he and Pop-pop were playing catch earlier. So he did the only thing he thought to do at that moment.

 

Michael Durantis raised his gloved arm in the air. And he caught the ball. The crowd went wild. Gran-gran Mary jumped in awe. Pop-pop Miles shook him with pride.

 

The Cubs ended up losing that game by a single run, 5-4, but Michael wasn’t disappointed. Because he knew from that moment on… he knew his destiny.

 

A week after the game, Michael asked his Pop-pop if he could join the local Little League team in the inner city. Despite the potential danger of the area, Pop-pop is supportive of Michael. He took him shopping, bought him a good, solid wood bat, as well a fresh pair of Nike brand baseball cleats, and a new, larger glove. Outfitted with his new equipment, Michael tried out for Inner City Rollers.

 

He didn’t get in, because a seven year old, no matter how determined, isn’t quite able to compete with thirteen year olds athletically.

 

At first, Michael was disheartened, and felt that he would never be able to reach his dream. But his grandparents were there each step of the way. Pop-pop helped Michael develop batting strength, judgment, and how to throw a ball with or without a curve correctly, while Gran-gran was there to supplement Michael’s learning, so that his extracurricular activities wouldn’t cause him to fall behind his peers in academics.

 

A year later, Michael tried out for the Inner City Rollers again.

 

He was the first eight year old to ever play in the Inner City Rollers.

 

At first, Michael had a hard time adjusting to his new teammates. They hailed from diverse backgrounds with their own sets of nuances and backstories, some far too complex than a child should ever have to bear. But eventually, Michael grew to understand and like his teammates as the older brothers he never got to have, and his teammates adopted Michael as a younger brother.

 

It was Fall, Monday.

 

Michael’s first game was about to begin. They were playing a team from Springfield. Michael was very nervous about how he was to perform in the coming game. To the point of vomiting even. So his Pop-pop sat him down and asked him what was wrong. Michael told him of his fears and anxieties. Pop-pop replied,

 

“Win or lose, Mikey, there’s always another game.”

 

Michael pondered these words as his team went up to bat. He did not notice his place in the dugout until his coach shook him out of his thoughts.

 

“Come on kiddo, you’re up.”

 

Michael gulped down his fear and grabbed his bat and walked up to the plate. He look around at the field. Joshua and Will were on second and third base, their pitcher was a leftie, and they had one out alread-

 

The ball flew past him. The umpire ruled it a strike.

 

Michael shook his head and gripped his bat harder. His knuckles turned white. This time he saw the ball coming, but did not anticipate its speed. His strength failed him, and he swung far too late.

 

Strike two.

 

Michael was on the verge of a panic attack. His first time at bat, and he was going to let his team down! What was he going to do what was he going to-

 

Then he heard them. His grandparents shouting his name, telling him that he could do it! That they believed in him.

 

His chest felt lighter, the air easier to breathe. He let his grip slacken ever so slightly around his bat. He took position at the right of the plate once more. The pitcher threw the ball, and it went fast. But for Michael, time slowed down. He watched in curiosity as the ball cracked against his bat, how the bat slightly bent against the force of the leather projectile collided with the polished wood, at how quickly the ball seemed to travel in a different trajectory after accelerating in his own direction.

 

It was only after Joshua and Will ran past him did he realize that he was supposed to run, but by that time, the ball had already reached first base, and he was out. He returned to the dugout, still in shock over what happened.

 

All the while, his grandparents cheered even louder than before, not caring that their grandchild had gotten tagged out without even moving, whilst certain other individuals watched with Michael return to the dugout with great interest.  

 

His team ended up winning against the Springfield Soldiers by mercy rule, 5-0. News spread about the game nationwide, but it wasn’t about the Inner City Rollers’ curbstomp performance, but rather, about the kid who knocked a hole in the chain link fence during the first inning.

 

It was Winter, Tuesday, January 2, 2076

 

It had been years since that game. The Inner City Rollers had long since split apart, many going to different high school across the city, some out of state. Most of them had been recruited by high schools, due to their exemplary performance during the Little League World Series. They had managed to place 2nd for three years, losing to Japan’s Hiroshima YBT all three times. Many had kept in touch with their foreign rivals. Michael was one of the few not recruited, not because he did not perform well enough to be noticed, on the contrary, he was the first target of recruiters. He was not recruited because he refused to attend schools that were located ten miles away from his grandparents’ home. So he attended Barack H. Obama High School, located only six miles away from his home. They had a batting cage, but no team. That was fine by Michael There, he was a quiet, but studious student, who focused on getting his grade as far up as possible in order to attend the University of Chicago on a well paying scholarship. And he did such.

 

He also managed to meet the love of his life.

 

Elizabeth Velacruz, known by her friends as Bessie, was an outgoing, life loving girl. She did not actively seek to make friends, people just seemed to flock around her, attracted by her charismatic personality, her polite behavior, and her good looks. She enjoyed helping others out, even if it inconvenienced her in any way. That’s how she met Michael, actually. They bumped into each other in the middle of the hall, Michael rushing to class because he was running late to turn an assignment he should have turned in an hour earlier, and Elizabeth was distracted by one of her friends shouting her name from behind her. Papers flew everywhere, apologies were exchanged, and after Elizabeth helped Michael collect and organize his late work, they went their separate ways. Neither of them forgot the other that day.

 

Despite having focused his energies into his studies, Michael still made a habit to practice his baseball skills in the school’s batting cage. This is where he was noticed by college recruiters. After Michael’s junior year ended, the Durantis household was shocked when they had received a number of offers from over fifty universities around the country, and a few from Japan as well. In nearly all of them, the offer was made to give Michael a full ride in exchange for him playing baseball.

 

Michael refused all of them. He applied for the University of Chicago. He was accepted and given a full scholarship based on his academic performance. He accepted the award.

 

It was Spring, Wednesday, April 16, 2080

 

In college, Michael set out to establish a skill set for himself so that he would be able to work if he would not be able to play baseball professionally. So he enrolled himself into the bioelectric systems program. At the same time, he tried out for the University’s Baseball team.

 

He got into both programs. It was difficult to balance both academics and sports, but he managed.

 

Then, he ran into Bessie again. They both recognized one another, one as the quiet hallway runner, and the other as the girl who walked forwards backwards. They shared a laugh and decided to grab a coffee together.

 

That was their first date.

 

It was Summer, Thursday, June 16, 2084

 

After four years of hard work, the recently engaged couple of Michael and Bessie had managed to complete their academic careers on a high note. Michael managed to maintain a 3.5 GPA whilst helping the Maroons maintain a perfect season in his senior year, while Bessie was the valedictorian of the class of 2084. With a resounding cheer from their fellow students and their loved ones, Michael and Bessie celebrated their success with a kiss.

 

It was Fall, Friday, October 12, 2097

 

The wind was howling. All around him, Wrigley Field was silent, and he saw no one standing in the stands except Bessie, Pop-pop, Gran-gran, and little Lenny. Michael looked towards his front and squinted at the ambidextrous pitcher, Reggie Pikeman. Reggie squinted back. Between them, the space seemed infinite, and yet their wills travelled further than light could ever hope to reach, their clash more violent initial expansion of the universe. Then, Reggie made his move, his arm moved with the strength of Herakles, and the ball moved with the swiftness of Hermes. But Michael would not be deterred. For in his mind, the power of the gods of the old ages were limited compared to the might of the human spirit, so indomitable, so infinite in its potential. Time slowed down, and his arms moved as his mind willed them to, the muscles within rippled and stretched as he extended his arms to their full length, then rippling once more when the coated leather collided with the solid maple build of the bat. Physics came into action, the force exerted by Michael’s bat greatly exceeded the force of the ball travelling at over 120 miles per hour. The ball, in accordance with the first law of motion, began to travel in a new trajectory which followed the bat’s direction upon impact, and travelled in an initial velocity equal to the acceleration of the bat times the weight of the bat.

 

In other words, the baseball flew very far, very fast. Far enough, in fact, for it to land in the bleachers overlooking center field.

 

Michael Durantis, #25 had just hit a homerun.

 

Michael Durantis, #25 had just hit a homerun and won the World Series.

 

Michael Durantis, #25 had just hit a homerun and won the World Series for the Cubs for the first time in two hundred years.

 

The stadium erupted in cheers. The city erupted in cheers. The world erupted in cheers. All is well in the world.

 

It was Winter, Saturday, February 8, 2110

 

Pop-pop passed away of old age. He was 131. Gran-gran died three years earlier. She was 127. Before Pop-pop died, Michael attempted to get him to recognize him one last time, to play catch with him and his great-grandchildren.

 

Pop-pop never moved from his rocking chair the entire conversation. He didn’t even look at Michael.

 

It was Spring, Sunday, March 20, 2125

 

Michael Durantis officially announced his retirement from Major League Baseball. After suffering a crippling injury to his Achilles tendon that left him unable to run, Michael Durantis, who had spent nearly 30 years as #25 of the Chicago Cubs and led the team to win seven World Series, wished to spend the rest of his days with his family, particularly his newly born granddaughters.

 

It was Summer, Monday, July 4, 2135

 

Elizabeth Velacruz Durantis passed away. It was revealed through public medical records that she had never taken part in “the Achilles Treatment”, which was made mandatory by the FDA since Congress passed the “Angel Preservation Act” in 2099, which aims to preserve human life at all costs.  She was 72 years old. She was survived by her husband, Michael Durantis, their children Lenny, Melanie, Warren, and their eight grandchildren.

 

It was Winter, Tuesday

 

How much time had passed? Michael was not sure. His children had moved him to a retirement home, due to a new economic crisis which made it difficult to care for many children as well as an elderly parent. They visited sometimes. Sometimes by themselves, sometimes with his grandchildren, sometimes with people he did not even recognize. Some days they spoke to him, other days they would just stand there and look at him.

 

He looked outside. The trees had bloomed, and birds flew freely through the air.

 

It was Summer.

 

It was getting crowded.

 

Michael felt very tired. He looked to the left. Had that heart monitor always been there? He did not know. Michael closed his eyes. But he never closed them before hand. The world was dark. Michael wanted to fall asleep. He closed his eyes. Did he have eyes? Michael did not know. Did something touch him? Where was he? Who was he? What year was it? Year? What’s a year? Why couldn’t he sleep?

 

Someone.

 

Please.

 

Help.

 

But nobody came.

 

All Michael could hear was the sound of the heartbeat monitor he was strapped to, as well as his own pathetic mewling.

 

It was the last thing he could ever hear.

 


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