I love soccer. One can even say I’m addicted. I’ve previously made choices which caused bystanders to reevaluate my sanity. This happened where soccer was involved.
Forget the tired criticism that says “Soccer is a game in which twenty-two full-grown men run after an inflated spherical piece of leather for ninety minutes.” Add “WHILE HAVING SERIOUS FUN” and you’re spot-on.
Back to the day The Ex showed up in my living quarters, twenty-four hours after I’d left her alone five hundred kilometers away and heaved a sigh of relief which should have worried the Meteorological Department. I was still puzzled about what had brought her, and since I didn’t feel like talking to her, I couldn’t really ask.
The Ex cat-walked leisurely to my bed, sat down and then stretched her body, full-length, upon my duvet. I was glaring at her in angry incredulity – when I was not ogling. Maintaining righteous anger at a visually appealing attractive young lady blessed with Athena’s body is a feat which belongs exclusively in cheap fantasy romance novels. In the real world, you ogle a bit, slap yourself back to reality and glare like you should, slowly slide back to ogling with your tongue hanging out, then remember yourself and pinch yourself and glare, shortly find yourself ogling again, so you dash your head against a wall and glare in pain, ad infinitum.
She regarded me with that lazy smile, so that I was expecting words, but then she turned the smile towards the droning Al-Jazeera presenter. I was still watching her and mentally stringing together expletives when she said, “Where’s the remote? Get my bags.”
I had trampled repeatedly on my remote control ages ago - the batteries were, um, reluctant and the buttons could do with some heavy prodding (of course it doesn’t work like that). But that didn’t feature in my head as I processed her “bags” statement – what bags? A little while later I found them outside the door. I laid my hands on them, judged their weight and decided, “I need to get out of here,” and the thought rang true, stirring something deep inside of me. (You the reader are supposed to feel some deep sentimental emotion and empathize.)
The possibilities of sanctuary opened up before my mind’s eye instantly. My friend three floors above was hosting a swarm of blondes – that room was most likely hazy with smoke from, ahem, smoked vegetables. Tempting. Then there was that tree outside I’d always figured I should climb. Or I could bury my head in a pile of sand at a construction site about 500 meters away from my block. Such ideas flashed before my eyes.
I opted for something else entirely, the ultimate temptation. Dropping The Ex’s bags inside, I began packing my own bag. When I finally presented myself with a packed bag and something like “I’ll be back in a jiff,” she responded with, “Don’t let me fool you into thinking I’m not hungry!”
“I’m not fooled,” I replied, “I’m actually going to the shop.”
“With a bag?” she asked, “What’s in it, supplies for the long hike?”
Her sarcasm was wasted on me (okay, maybe not), but I summoned the genius in me and replied, “Round here we do barter trading. Cash is too futuristic.” She afforded me a genuine smile. This caused guilt to tug at my conscience but I kicked guilt in the teeth and steeled myself to execute the deception I’d already set myself firmly on committing.
I went to a soccer match whereby I started dreading the final whistle as early as kick-off. All the while, I was preparing myself to confront the Ex, to find out what she was up to, visiting me and making herself at home.
By the way, I scored four goals.