Monday, August 6, 2018

#272: "I Dreamed of Mark Messier" by Leslie Pietrzyk

***As noted last week, this post will be the final to appear in Redux as I have decided to put aside my editorial duties. Archives will be maintained, and a guide to the more-than-250 authors published here appears below, to your right.

~This story previously appeared in New York Stories (2001)

             This happened several years ago, though I had to look at a calendar before I believed that much time had gone by.  In fact, I think Mark Messier plays for another team now, is retired, has left the country, something, something big, something dramatic.  But what do I know about any of that?

            My boyfriend Andy had been watching Stanley Cup hockey play-offs all weekend, so when I told him Monday morning that I’d had a dream about Mark Messier, he said, “Was he playing for Edmonton or New York?” and I said, “I don’t know,” and he said, “Was he on the Oilers or the Rangers?”, and I said, “I don’t know,” and he got kind of ticked:  “Well, what color was his shirt?”, and I said, “Coral,” and then he got really mad—“No team jerseys are coral, not even expansion teams would pick coral.  What the hell is coral, anyway?”
            Actually, Mark Messier hadn’t been wearing a shirt, because what’s the point of dreaming of a muscley hockey player if he’s got on his shirt the whole time?  But that wasn’t anything you’d say to your boyfriend, not when you were talking around the edges about getting married and no one was getting any younger and there were biological clocks going off all over the place.
            “Well, what else, Lynne?” he asked.
            “It was just a dream,” I said.  “So who cares?”  We were going to be late for work; he was driving, and there was some crash miles ahead of us on the highway.  Whenever he drove there was some crash.  When I drove, we had green lights and clear lanes and no commercials on the radio.  Right now, we were absolutely still.  Every car in every lane was still.  I watched drivers around us whip out their phones to scream at people already at work.
            “I have to know if the Rangers are going to win the Cup,” he said.
            “Not unless their defense steps up,” I said, repeating what I’d heard on the radio in the shower this morning.  I wouldn’t know defense from picket fence.
            “This traffic sucks,” he said.  “The Rangers’ defense sucks.”