It was late. I don't know how late, but all the people who were above the age of forty or had children had left hours ago. Most of them were locals, some of them local enough to just cross the street to get to their own warm beds. My warm bed was two hours away, though I'd reserved a bed about five miles away. The others had planned to drive the hour back to their homes, but then it got late and no one stopped drinking. So they were just going to have to stay here, in the home of a bride and groom on their wedding night.
To be fair, the bride and groom did say they should just stay.
We were in the back yard, where a fire flickered merrily, surrounded by camp chairs, stumps, and overturned buckets. We, the remaining six, were playing soccer. There were seven of us if you counted the cooler full of ice and beer, which was actually a better soccer player than a couple of us. We weren't really playing soccer, but rather standing in a circle and kicking the ball to each other in no particular order. Sort of like Catch, but with your feet. Kick, I suppose.
They said I played soccer like a robot. Ball comes toward me, I throw out a foot mechanically. I've never played soccer before, and I think this was the longest I'd ever played Kick. As the game went on, I figured it out a bit more until I was playing like a robot who had at least played before. Someone who had actually played real soccer tried to recall tricks he'd mastered years ago. A couple of others would attempt to imitate his successful ones. There were a lot of trips into the woods to fetch the wayward ball.
I wish I could convey the moment of it. It was just six people and one cooler, old friends and new, kicking a ball back and forth under the stars. We were all happy and giggly from the beer and the fact of a wedding. It was nothing. One of those nothings that you look back on fondly and wish you could recapture whatever power a memory has to make you smile just by recalling it.