09 De point en point

Since she was little Elise Renard loved the sound of smacked tennis balls when they made contact with the racquet. And ever since she was given her first racquet she loved the fact that she could produce that sound over and over again. She didn’t mind hitting and practicing the same shot for hours at a time even though, she had to admit, it was a little bit autistic. But moreover, it was relaxing, as the concentration required took her mind off everything else.
But not today. Her timing was off, and her movement sluggish. Concentrating on a little yellow ball suddenly seemed almost impossible. She also knew why.

The whole situation with Amanda had become utterly confusing. Her feelings for Amanda had become confusing. Only one week ago she had been crystal clear about her emotions for the Australian. There was no denying that she was head over heels in love with the red head. It didn’t matter that Amanda seemed unavailable as she was in a relationship with Aussie singer Felicia Del Castro. The successful week in Stuttgart and the time they had spend together had sparked her adoration even more.
But now? Not only had she learned that the relationship with Felicia apparently had ended a while ago, at the Challenger tournament she had played a few days ago she had also overheard the British girls Gemma and Robyn talk about the long-time affair Amanda was having with Natsumi and that they were back together again.

Elise had to admit that the new facts didn’t really change the situation at all. Amanda was still unavailable to her, but it had changed the image she had had of the Australian player. Amanda had always seemed so wholehearted and earnest. It didn’t suit her to have multiple affairs one after another. Elise was appalled. But then again, who was she to oppose someone’s two-facedness?
After hearing the troubling new revelations, in the morning Elise refrained from texting Amanda. But just when she decided that it was a good move to keep her distance to the Australian Amanda had called her. This was even more confusing, as Amanda never revealed her reason for calling. Elise was so taken by surprise that she even forgot her good intentions and promptly asked Amanda to play doubles again. That had been a mistake. Amanda’s immediate rejection had cut like a knife.

She smacked the ball into the net unable to string together more than four or five shots. It was terribly frustrating. She really needed to get the Australian out of her mind, out of her system. Her thoughts wandered back to her hotel room, to her racquet bag in the corner, to the small plastic bag buried within it, to the little souvenirs wrapped in paper. One was a braided blue wristband she had gotten in a small shop last week before she had learned about Amanda’s affair with Natsumi. Blue suited Amanda, Elise had thought when buying the accessory. Now, her stupidity made her angry.
She hit the ball as hard as she could. It was going in. She hit it again. The stroke was perfect, the angle breath-taking. She hit another heavy top-spin shot. After bouncing it sped forward unreachable for her hitting partner at the other side of the court.
She let out a quiet “Come on!” to herself. That was the way to get Amanda out of her head.