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2018-11-30 - 3:14 p.m.

Thirteen, maybe fourteen years old, too-hot in the car on the way up the mountain to Frostburg, only a half-hour away but two thousand feet higher into the dry blue forever. Suddenly too skinny for basketball, here I am anyway, the maroon-and-yellow nothing of a polyester uniform against my skin, hot close boy air trapped by these cotton sweats. Pants too short, in need of a wash. Hoodie with dried snot on the elastic sleeves. A little hair on my upper lip but not enough. At the gym, out into the January cold, so cold it freezes the car-sweat in a half-second, so cold I don't have time even to get to shivering before I'm inside the gym doors, where it's hot. Steam-radiators clanking, probably, and other boys running, jumping, crashing into each other, into armpits suddenly rank with dark hair.

Hot to cold to hot, and then, after, after my three buckets and two fouls, out again into the blue-sky cold, this time and only this time, the blast of it all right, and not too long, and just enough to let me know that I am not dead, not yet, at thirteen, fourteen.

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