However, that day the young man seemed disappointed and was soon gone.
Rick stretched out on the massage table, closed his eyes, and thought of the girl. Then he thought of Sam and his plan to catch him before training that day and, with his tail between his legs, try again to repair the damage. He thought of the Italians and was almost afraid of the emptiness they might create for him. However, being of the caste they were, it seemed unlikely that they would suppress their feelings and he imagined that after a few clashes and a few harsh words they would all hug each other and be friends again.
It was Sly, dressed in jeans and a jacket, looking like he was going somewhere. Rick sat up, his feet dangling over the edge of the gurney.
Sly leaned against the other massage table, folded his arms and frowned.
– I’ve packed my bags and the train leaves here in an hour. My loving wife will be waiting for me at the Denver airport when I get there tomorrow. I have to go, Ricky, it’s over. I am tired of chasing a dream that I will never achieve.
– I understand you, Sly, but you leave in the middle of the season. You leave me with an offensive line where no one runs forty yards in less than five seconds except me, and I’m not supposed to run.
Sly nodded and looked around. It was obvious that he had intended to go in unseen, talk to Sam, and get out the same way. Rick wanted to strangle him; The idea of handing over the ball to Judge Franco twenty times per game did not appeal to him at all.
“I don’t have a choice, Rick,” Sly said, lowering his voice even more, sadder. My wife called me this morning, pregnant and very surprised to be pregnant. She’s fed up. She wants to have a real husband at home. Also, what am I doing here? Flirting with young girls in Milan as if he were still in college. We are deceiving ourselves.
– You have committed to playing the entire season. You leave us with no rushing game. It’s not fair.
Sly had made up his mind, and as much as Rick protested, he wasn’t going to change his mind. As both Americans, they had been forced to play together in a foreign land, had survived together and had a good time, but they would never become close friends.