The lacrosse boys were turning their sticks in their hands, moving their wrists in small motions, the tai-chi of restless thirteen year olds waiting for the game to begin. From the stands, Maxwell watched. He noticed when the movements of the boys seemed to synchronize. It happened bit by bit, boy by boy, until all of them moving together: twist, twist, twist, flick right, flick left, twist, twist, twist, repeat.
He turned to point it out to Sam, but the words died on his lips when he saw her. Sam was staring out at the field with a focused intensity usually reserved for her lab experiments. Her eyes were wild and her lips were twitching. Her hands were clasped hard against her thighs. Sweat was dripping down her cheek even though it was a mild spring day. “Sam?” Maxwell spoke gently, feeling oddly as if he were waking a sleepwalker. “Sam?”
Suddenly, she went limp. Glancing back at the field, Maxwell saw the boys moving normally again, no more eerie choreography. The other five or six kids in the stands for the Wednesday afternoon game didn’t seem to have noticed anything. They still looked at their phones or nodded their heads to music streaming through their headphones.
“Sam?” This time she looked at him, wiping the sweat from her cheek as she pulled her long dark hair into a ponytail. The movement revealed the small scar in front of her left ear. She saw him notice and dropped a lock of hair in front of her ear. When he looked into her eyes, she returned his gaze steadily and Maxwell felt ridiculous for what he’d been about to ask. He decided to change the subject.