You know those scenes in TV shows or movies, where past lovers unexpectedly run into one another? Usually, one person was left holding the bag in the relationship, and this is the person who may react more emotionally to the moment. Nevertheless, there is awkward tension between both parties, as they try to process this encounter and all those emotions that come flooding back.
Not to sound too dramatic, Pirates playoff baseball, but it's been a long time since I woke up with equal parts excitement and dread about a do-or-die baseball game. The last time I awoke to such a day, it was the morning of Game 7 of the 1992 National League Championship Series, when you guys were about a half a day away from taking on the Braves for the right to go to the World Series.
After two heart-breaking exits in the previous two NLCS's, and after battling back from 3-1 down in '92, I was certain you were going to pull off the come back and give the City of Pittsburgh some awesome World Series moments.
I remember a lot about that day. My uncle was painting my grandmother's living room, and I can still recall the smell of paint as I walked into the house following a day of learning at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh (I doubt I learned anything that day, since I was simply thinking of you, Pirates).
I remember talking to my brother on the phone, mere hours before Game 7, and the last thing he said to me was "Go Bucs."
Well, I think you and I both know what happened that night, how you ripped by heart out and then skipped town, leaving a vacuum that was filled with mediocre talent and results that were much, much worse than that.
Here we are after 21 years. I never thought I'd be having these feeling, again, Pirates. Feelings of postseason baseball. That day left a scar that still hurts when I touch it (You know I still can't watch the ninth inning of that dreadful Game 7?)
Others have come along to fill the void you left, but then again, the Steelers have always been No. 1 in my heart (you know I still cringe whenever someone says "Go Steelers" before a big game?), but you were special to me, too, Pirates. In fact, those memories of the early 90's were mostly special, and even though they left me feeling depressed after each season, I never thought you'd leave me for over 20 years.
It just feels so weird, so strange. Are you going to leave again, or are you here to stay? I guess that's the thing about love. The "unknowns" are so alluring, so enticing.
I don't know what's going to happen tonight, but I do know I'll never be the same again.