Wimbledon      

Charles Alex Alvarez

           

The damp air blew through the room, ruffling the brown curtains as I peeled my eyes open. Unfamiliarity overcame me upon waking. This feeling had been a morning ritual for the past week since I had arrived in London. My journal was opened beside me to what was written in my last waking seconds of the previous night. Wimbledon Stadium stood out very vividly from the white lined paper. I jumped out of bed with a spring in my step. Today I would find my way to where the top tennis players match up. Memories of last year’s Wimbledon shown on television in the U.S. flowed like the water from the shower head while I hurried myself for departure. Today I would wear my favorite yellow shirt with “Vidalia Onions” painted across the front. My foot wiggled into my second shoe in sync with the key locking the door. I skipped every other step on the way to the subway, or “tube” as it is called in London. The train doors couldn’t open fast enough for everyone to step onto the train. My patience diminished with each stop until at last we had reached our destination. My feet got back up to speed again, skipping every other step, continuing up the stairs and towards the bus. The air was warm now. The waiting bus was even hotter and packed with people talking about tennis. Suddenly the ground moved steadily below us for several minutes until someone said, “There it is!” We had arrived at Wimbledon Stadium. People cheering pierced the silence sporadically, deadening the sound of footsteps progressing from the back of the bus towards the green- painted stadium. Droves of people lined the streets for about a mile. An old man held one hand out for my ticket and used the other to point me to the correct match. The cheering became louder and louder with each step towards the stadium seating. The light brightened with my movement upwards. The smell of grass flowed down the stairs with the breeze. When I reached the top, my eyes expanded, followed by my mouth. There was the crowd, the grass court, and the pros.  At last I had become part of what I had watched only on television thousands of miles away.