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2003-04-20 - 1:37 a.m.

Rutledge and I shot basketball for two hours this afternoon. Seagulls overhead, air-horn blasts from the harbor that meant the ships were backing up, out of port. Five guys, all terrible basketball players, were playing at the court when we got there, and Rutledge said ``These guys are about our speed.'' But we went to an empty basket and shot around by ourselves instead. I got the impression, about fifteen minutes in, that we weren't there to shoot basketball at all. Instead, we were there to talk about his girlfriend who he doesn't like and my girlfriend who cuts herself on the arms because she's so unhappy with herself. And we talked about Iraq and abortion and television evangelists and we realized that we agreed on most things but not everything. And we were fine with that. And we shot basketball for two hours, making some, missing more, and the ball felt nice in my hands, textured and scarred from where the pebbles had gotten to it. It felt like two friends, out on a basketball court, shooting the shit, about nothing and everything. It's one of the first true friend encounters I've had since I moved here, and it felt nice. Nothing on the outside of it at all. It was all insides. All real.

Still, as we were leaving, I had the urge to make one more basket, even if we weren't keeping track. It swished.

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