A Bar in Vancouver, Guest Appearance by Daniel Nestor

2022. I’m in a bar in Vancouver with Jack. Jack married Emily a year ago. Emily’s lucky. Jack’s chill, works at Space X, and loves the outdoors. Jack’s luckier: Emily’s my daughter. Jack’s studying for his final flight for his pilot’s license. Since I lost my wife, Jacque, a year ago, I, too, dream of whatever’s up there in the stars.

1992. All the bars in Vancouver show Canadian Daniel Nestor, ranked 229 in the world, playing the world #1, Stefan Edberg. Nestor’s representing Canada in a Davis Cup match while I am teaching the Great Gatsby in Germany at the University of Mainz. Seven German doctors surround Jacque’s bed, our third miscarriage. The wall has fallen, so we drive on cobblestone freeways throughout East Germany, buildings everywhere soiled black with decades of Soviet neglect. As we return to the states, We sneak out the German fertility drugs we used. A huge underdog and down 2 sets to 1, Daniel Nestor goes out to practice serves in between the third and fourth sets.

2022. The serve’s the one shot I go practice alone in the morning before tournaments. It’s the one shot you completely control. It’s about nerves and rhythm and the body’s moving parts. Not forcing it but letting it flow. When I get nervous, my head dips as I reach up to strike the ball. Head up, head up, I keep reminding myself.

Mainz’s Romanesque church, its dark stone walls. Vancouver’s skyline, its bars. A city not of God but of glass.

About Daniel Nestor: Nestor went on to beat Edberg and become one of Canada’s first Davis Cup heroes. He played in 53 Davis cup matches while becoming one of the world’s greatest doubles players, winning 11 grand slam titles with seven different partners.

About Rudy Kehkla: For more on Rudy Kehkla and his unique wire sculptures, check out his website: Rudy Kehkla.

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