'Change of plans.' My co-worker says to me, 'The Russian brothers are going. We're riding with them and they parked in the front.'
I bound up the stairs with my bag, my spikes, and my sport goggles and I follow my British co-worker. I often tease him by using the British terms and ask, 'Would you like to play some football on the pitch?'
We walk towards the front parking lot, join one of the Russian brothers, and wander to locate his mini-van. We approach and he uses the ear-bud for his phone and starts talking in Russian.
I pile into the front seat and the Brit somehow gets the keys, 'I'm driving.'
Side door open, we circle the parking lot to find the lost brother. The Russian stands in the open doorway while we drive, looking. Laughing, we pass the receptionist and a secretary out for a walk. Everyone laughs at the sight of our slow circle, one guy standing in the open doorway.
Finally, we find him. He jumps in, 'Let's go!'
We arrive at the game, and people reacquaint themselves and someone briefly introduces me. Game on!
I worry about my hamstrings and a third of the way through, my left hamstring tightens, but I play on. A right wing crosses the ball in front of the net. I put my foot on the ball, GOALLL!!!!
Later someone says, 'Three goals to win!' So we play, tired now, until someone mercifully passes the ball through the goal to end the match.
We shake hands and walk towards the van.
One of the Russian brothers drives now, I sit in the front. He opens the windows driving swiftly, pushing buttons on his GPS map in the console. Traffic signs are suggestions and I smile to myself because I know other Russians who drive like this.
We take a circumspect way to the office and I wonder if I should suggest a shorter route. I stay quiet. Finally, we turn onto a familiar road and there's a slow car in front of us, inching along.
Now it's time to obey trafic laws and we laugh and giggle as the car takes several seconds to slowly turn right into a driveway.
I think about work. Idly wondering what I have to jump into when I return to the office.
I wonder, 'Huh? Now where? The Russian's house?'
The road ends at a lake. Two mothers and their kids are playing on the beach. He parks. I look and the Russians and my British co-worker are taking their shirts off and digging out towels.
I laugh to myself and take off my sweaty t-shirt, and hobble down to the beach. I ask, 'Swimming?'
The Russian's bright eyes smile, 'Yes. Of course.'
The Russians dive right in, I wade in and plunge into the brisk water. We turn and see the Brit toeing the water. Finally he joins us as we walk out, dripping.
The mothers and children are no where to be found.
I dry off, planning to sit on my towel in the van. I look into the back and one of the Russians is changing! I blink. I look at the Brit and the other Russian and they have towels wrapped tight around their waist, changing.
Thinking to myself, 'Hmm...well...' so I wrap my towel, also and strip and put on dry clothes.
Everyone ready, the other Russian hops in the driver's seat. I blink. Odd.
We ask aloud, 'Where did the kids go?'
'We scared them!' We all laugh imagining them running away from us.
The Brit explains, 'We often swim after soccer, but later in the season the beaches are pay to swim. But this one is best because they can park and sneak into the water.' I laugh.
While riding along, the Brit asks, 'I wonder how many meetings I missed?'
I reply, 'I missed one, but they know that I did.'
The Russian driver says as we approach the office, 'There will be more meetings. Meetings today. Meetings tomorrow.'