There was this Promethean moment for me years ago – some kind of discovery or awakening..
At the time, my own insecurities and uncertainties had lived in the center of my chest, ghosting me through the years. I lived with the constant suspicion that I was somehow in the wrong place, the wrong town or the wrong neighborhood. It seemed to me that the very life in which I was existing amounted to nothing more than a bumbling series of miscues while I was somehow, inexplicably, waiting around for a place to be. I was living in some kind of strange purgatory, a stranger in my own life. I guess, more than anything else, I felt like the proverbial “player to be named later” in all those baseball trades you read about during the off-season or at the deadline, but later never seemed to come for me.
That afternoon, after messing up my life for the umpteenth time, feeling more uncertain than ever, reeling from the loss of a woman that was never going to love me again, I decided to try to walk off my self-induced, shame-spiraling stupor. I walked around Point Fermin with my one-year-old son Coltrane in my arms, holding him as we looked over the edge, watching the hulking freighters off the coast dotting the Pacific, hearing the warbling arf of the sea lions as the waves pounded on the rocks hundreds of feet beneath us. We sat there, the two of us, immersed in this moment, this indescribable beauty; watching as foamy pearls and diamonds kept forming and then dissolving on the tops of the rocks on the surface of the water.
As my little boy's eyes gazed across the expanse of the holy blue dream of a sky, his eyelids began to drop. After reopening them a few times, as if committing the scene of the sweetness of the vision laid out before him to memory, he finally lost the battle and fell asleep, the tops of his shiny brittle little eyelids meshing together.
I was 30 years old, awash in the scuppers of my messy head and messier heart.. and it was at that moment I felt the soft, fastening click in the center of my chest. The mass of warmth of his small sleeping body brought with it a deep, abiding calm. It was a weight in my arms that I’d always been missing. I’d finally been traded to my team.
Here and now, eight and a half years later, Coltrane is obviously no longer a baby. He’s a gargantuan nine year old boy, full of dreams and hopes and gross jokes and curiosity. The days of him falling asleep in my arms, at Point Fermin or anywhere else, are long gone. But every once in a while, I can still feel that small bundle I held to my chest that afternoon and recall that sacred moment: my arrival as the player to be named later, finally finding a home team - the ghost of my greatest and only Home Run.