01 Ready? Play!

Other passengers were coming and going in the usual cacophony previous to a take-off. Settling in on her seat, Elise leaned her head against the window and closed her eyes. It was early and she was tired. Instantly words began to flash back in her head and she swallowed hard. She would prove it to herself. Yet what? And how? Belonging where?
The plane began to run on the tarmac and Elise tried to listen to the flight attendants safety instructions. But knowing them by heart she fell back into brooding.

Once the plane was airborne she got up and pulled out her trolley bag from the baggage compartment. She needed distraction from her wandering thoughts. She opened her bag and felt her heart skip a beat. Elise was looking at two carefully packed heaps of training shorts and tops. She obviously had switched her bags at the counter and had checked-in the trolley bag with her hand luggage. What had she been thinking? Well, she didn’t know anymore what she’d been thinking. She sighed. She couldn’t even tell what went wrong and why. How could she expect to win any matches if she was distracted so easily by – well, by what exactly? She didn’t know. Now her hand luggage with her laptop, with her books and clothes to change were buried in the airplane belly. Sheepishly she closed the lid again, about to haul the bag up to the luggage compartment when she felt something bulky in the front pocket. She opened the zipper and pulled out a copy of Tennis Nurse.

Agathe, her friend from France had lent her the cheesy novel three weeks ago. Elise had begun reading it around Christmas time and had found the writing awfully over the top and the characters unbearably corny. After two chapters she had given up, left it underneath the bed and had forgotten about it.
This morning, just when she was about to switch off the lights in her bedroom, leaving it tidy and quiescent for the next month, she remembered the book Agathe had gone into raptures about. Her friend would have decapitated her with a furious swing of her racquet, if she didn’t get her book back. In a hurry Elise had grabbed it from under the bed and stuffed it into the next best trolley bag.

Now she had nothing else to do during a twelve hour flight to Sydney. She took a look at the front cover again. Tennis Nurse and The Girl Who Preferred The Grass []. This was ridiculous. Who would write such nonsense? The author’s name was clearly a pseudonym and it was probably the best two words this woman had ever come up with. Elise chuckled. She opened the first page and began to read.