There have been moments where I’ve feared I would have to start over completely, and there have been moments that have reassured me otherwise.

Yesterday was my first day back at official training since the injury. My two closest friends from the team were there to keep my head up, and there were times when I needed it. I tried not to curse myself every time my feet were in the wrong place, my steps too heavy, my passes too hard. The gym floor was slippery, and I was scared to stretch too far for the ball, fearing the flare of pain in my groin that I’ve become all too familiar with. At the end of the hour, I sat down a few minutes early to stretch and watch my teammates play, as out of breath from the nerves as from the exertion.

Looking back, it wasn’t all muttered swears and misplaced touches. There were moments where I found myself falling back into my old rhythms, dragging the ball across the floor like there were magnets sewn into my cleats. The speedy moves and accelerations we practiced would have felt like they were tearing me in half two months ago, but, yesterday, they were completely painless.

I know I’m not as agile as I was…yet. I can’t play as long or as intensely as I used to…yet. But I’m getting there. I’ve been going to physical therapy; I’ve been throwing myself at the treadmill with Angel Haze shouting, “You the only person alive who holds the key to your healing,” in my ear. In the wilderness of exams and essays and standardized tests that is school, recovering from this injury is almost an escape. It has an endpoint. A deadline. One that I’m positive that I’m going to meet. ♦