Heather Shorey
3 min readMay 12, 2022


Your willingness to enter The Open. In life. In Tennis. You show up. And you reckon with what is. You get Served. Ace. After Ace after Ace. And boy do you just Approach from that Baseline with nothing but No Man’s Land in front of you and you just Slice, Smash, Serve your All with the perfect amount of Topspin.

That’s what I want your last words to be to me when I’m taking my last breath.

Wilson. I understand your father named you after a tennis ball because you were destined to become the greatest tennis player that ever beat Mr. Bendor, the 8th Grade Math Teacher, in a match of weekend racketing. I know this is the dream that keeps you going. But no. This is not how it’s going down. You cannot script my words on your death. Because that my love, that will be the one time I get to say what I want to say and you just have to shut up and die with it.

Fair. Fair enough.

What am I going to make for dinner?

Order something.

Like what?


I haven’t had Indian in forever.

Did you know in England they call Indian food Curry? Like, “Hey, let’s order Curry.” But like Indian.



Have you been noticing now that Afa is a little bit older he’s acting weird?

Do you think we get weirder as we get older?

No I mean like there are girls hanging around a little bit.

They’re not hanging around. One is his friend since forever. And the other one is his project.

But do you think he’s getting weird? Like with his friend since forever? Or his project maybe?

I think the project is definitely weird. But not as weird as you are thinking. Like more of it’s making him think of being weird.

Ahh. Okay, that’s a relief. What about the friend since forever?

Since forever friend is like a first cousin. The only one around since forever and so it feels wrong to be weird. I think that’s how his projects tend to occur.

Makes sense.

Do you think he’s more like me or you?

I mean I think we would both agree he’s more like him.

Or M. P. Williams.

Yes, definitely.

That one is special.

You wouldn’t name a library after someone not special.

Can you imagine one day — the Afa Tualalala MaXimuS Library? Or an Academy?


Remember when you were 20 and you said you would most likely hit your prime at 50? You weren’t kidding were you?

It’s sixties now. Not the prime part. That part still happens when I turn 50. The sixties are when I enter my epic proportions. Not sure what is after that yet.

Well I hope I don’t die before you become epic.

Don’t worry. For you, my last words will be perfect. Which you will hate because you thought of better ones. But that will be how we show the world who Wilson Maximus was.

Who was Wilson Maximus?

“A man, who nonetheverydarnless, Loved what was. Served from Love. Always, Love-Love. Even in death — Wilson Maximus allowed his ever darling wife Wendy to Serve him a Bagel with these last words. Because he, Wilson Maximus, by no Fault of Volley, lived to be our one and only, ‘8th Grade Tennis Victor.’ For all of our time.”

Wow. Speechless.

That’s the point. I’m preparing you for death.



Heather Shorey

Working the Craft. Experimenting Work(s) in Progress. Interested in Feedback for Further Development.