Home > The Last Field Party(The Field Party #7)

The Last Field Party(The Field Party #7)
Author: Abbi Glines

 

FIVE YEARS LATER


ASA AND EZMITA


“You didn’t completely walk away from

Asa Griffith’s truck that day.”

 

 

CHAPTER ONE


ASA


I slid the last box into the back of my truck. I was leaving Mississippi with a hell of a lot more than I had arrived with five years ago. Choosing to redshirt my freshman year due to Covid had given me more than just one more year of eligibility to play. It had given me more time to build a life here. Glancing back toward the building that had been home for the past three years, I smiled thinking of all the memories that had been made here. Dex and Joe had been not only my roommates but my teammates as well. They were the first two friends I had made my first year at Ole Miss. Dex had been my roommate in the dorms freshman year. We had been together the longest.

Dex was already gone. He had been a top pick in the NFL draft and would be playing defense for the Patriots. Joe and I were the only ones left to move out today. He was going back to Texas to work on his family ranch. It was what he had always known he would do. Like me, football had been a way to pay for his education. I had known after my first year I wouldn’t be NFL-bound.

Deciding on a degree and what I wanted to do with my life hadn’t been easy. I had changed my mind a few times. In the end, I had chosen to major in Spanish. Teaching Spanish in high school while also coaching high school football was my goal. My advisor had suggested I major in history, since that was where my strengths were.

In the end, I had chosen Spanish because it made me feel closer to her. Over the past five years, I had spoken to Ezmita twice in person while we were both in Lawton for the holidays. It was never for as long as I wanted, but then she was never alone. Facing the fact she had moved on was one of the hardest things I’d done.

“Yo! Griffith! You want this toaster?” Joe called out from the door of our first-floor apartment.

I shook my head. “No.”

Joe held it in his massive hands, turning it over and looking at it a moment. “It’s beat to shit, ain’t it?” he then added.

I nodded in agreement. He shrugged and walked back inside with it. Knowing Joe, he would take it anyway. He rarely threw anything in the trash.

Unlike Joe, I wasn’t positive where I would be in the fall. I had two options, and I knew I was real damn lucky. Not everyone was leaving with two job offers. Choosing Spanish as my major had been one of the smartest things I’d done while I was in college. Seems that high schools are looking for Spanish teachers that can also coach football teams. Starting with Lawton High School. However, neither school was offering me a head coach position, and I didn’t expect one. Just because I had played for an SEC team didn’t mean I was ready to take on a high school team.

Lawton was offering me a special teams coaching position along with a Spanish 1 and 2 teaching position, which came with a very good salary. I would be coaching with Nash, and that would be awesome. However, as many good memories as I had at Lawton and on that field, there were bad ones too. As dark as you could fucking get.

Then there was a 5A high school just outside Atlanta offering me an offensive coaching position along with the Spanish 1 teaching position. The salary was higher, but so was the cost of living in that area. However, looking at it as an outsider, the Georgia offer seemed like the obvious choice, and I was leaning that way.

I still had two more weeks before I had to make a decision, and during those two weeks I would be able to find my closure in Lawton. The fear that I would choose it for the wrong reasons weighed on my mind. The timing of things was perfect. In two weeks, the field owned by the Lees would be named in memory of our former friend and teammate Hunter Maclay.

Maclay Field would no longer be a field in the woods where the teenagers went to party. Those days were over. They had been for the past few years. The parties ended with us. It was time to make the place that had played such a big part in our lives something important. Nash and Ryker Lee were doing just that. Maclay Field would host football camps all summer with former SEC players and NFL players as special coaches throughout the summer sessions. I was signed on to do two weeks in July.

Profit made from the camp would go into the Hunter Maclay Scholarship Fund to be awarded to one Lawton Lion senior every year. In addition, each youth who wanted to attend the camp but could not afford the cost would be eligible to receive a Hunter Maclay seal of approval that would pay all costs for that child.

Ryker and Nash had spent the past year working on the program and turning the field into a field for young kids to learn the game of football. The Maclays had also put a lot of money behind the project and worked with the Lees to make this something to benefit Lawton and leave a legacy for Hunter.

The official opening ceremony would be open to all of Lawton, and the high school band was going to play. There would be food vendors, fireworks, and special speakers. However, the night before it would be a smaller gathering. Those of us who grew up on that field would be going one more time to spend a night remembering the moments that changed us forever.

The sound of the apartment door swinging open and banging loudly against the side of the building broke into my thoughts, and my head snapped up to see Joe once again standing at the door. He was so big, he filled the doorway, and the sight made me smile. I would miss him.

“You not gonna take the damn hair dryer either?” he asked, holding up a pink hair dryer.

“Joe, when did I ever own a pink hair dryer?”

He looked at it as if he was just now realizing its color. Then he shrugged. “I like pink,” he finally said.

“Then you keep it. I think one of Dex’s Exes left it here a year or so ago,” I explained.

Joe smirked. He loved referring to the list of women Dex had dated as Dex’s Exes. It didn’t take much to amuse Joe. He was always so damn happy and ready for a laugh. That was an energy I would miss being around every day.

“I’ll take it to Gerti,” he said before going back inside.

Gerti was his younger sister. He had five younger siblings, but Gerti was the only girl. His entire family always came for the home games. I had gone out to dinner with them more than once over the years. They reminded me of families I had watched on sitcoms growing up. The kind I hadn’t believed existed.

One day I wanted a family like Joe’s. A wife who loved me and a shit ton of kids being loud as hell. Smiling, I walked back to the apartment to say good-bye before heading back to Lawton.

 

 

CHAPTER TWO


EZMITA


As I stepped inside my parents’ store, the smell of cinnamon rolls engulfed me, and I smiled. Home. It had been months since I’d smelled Momma’s famous cinnamon rolls. I didn’t realize how badly I needed to be here until this moment. When my mother’s small body came rushing from the back door to greet the customer and her eyes locked on mine, my chest tightened. A lump formed in my throat, and unshed tears stung my eyes.

“Hey, Momma,” I said, sounding as emotional as I felt.

“Ezmita!” Momma cried out with joy and opened her arms wide as I hurried into them.

“I missed you,” I whispered as she hugged me tightly.

“You stayed away too long this time. But you are here now. Let me feed you. You’re too thin,” she said, pulling back and looking at me. I said nothing as she studied me. It only took a moment, and then she nodded. “I see,” she said. “Come, then. I will send your sister to watch the front and you can tell me how you broke things off with Malecon. It was time.”

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