The Ball by John Elliot

The ball was sitting alone on the grass next to the mud. Bright orange, old, lumpy and misshapen. I kicked the ball into motion and on to the path. The ball rolled by itself through the landing. It seemed to know its path. Two loose pavers caught the ball and it recoiled. I kicked it over the loose pavers to the ramp. The ball sped down the ramp with all the self assurance in the world and almost got away from me. But due to its speed it rebounded in the gutter at the bottom. I kicked it out of the gutter and on to the court. The ball danced with me around the court, from time to time bouncing off the walls. The ball flew steadily back across the court and through the gutter which had previously repelled it. On the return journey back up the ramp the ball lost its way and got sidelined in the grass to the side. I kicked it back on track and up the hill. The ball came in to view of everyone on the landing between the benches. As it navigated the landing it cleared a twig, a small obstacle, by itself. I stopped the ball on the landing because it was headed into a closed corner edged by the garbage. The ball and I turned back and headed for the white path narrowly missing a large obstacle. The ball followed the white path largely by itself as it curved downhill, only twice needing to be nudged back into direction. The ball cleared the gutter by itself once again and drifted past the chairs and tables at the back of the court. The ball came to a stop at the stairs, bouncing softly backward. I carried the ball up the stairs and placed it in one of the two brown chairs in the light.

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