Sunday, June 9, 2013

Stirrings

Too often I have fallen in love for real only to find myself in a more tempestuous rollercoaster than I bargained for. Then, my introversion yields profuse awkward silent moments whenever I really truly have nothing to say. Also, patience evades and wrath overwhelms simple sensitive me. Finally, a succession of heartbreaks has necessarily annihilated a whole chunk of enthusiasm. (Mainly, the time is not yet come.) Thus the world of dating is a league I decided I do not play in.

Now for leagues I play in: our team had a friendly match one recent Thursday evening. As my teammates exerted themselves on the sore end of a one-nil score line, I having arrived late watched longingly from the sidelines. The coach as punishment swore that I would not play this match, and told me not to expect a substitution. So I stood despondently watching the left winger make a series of elementary blunders with every touch of the ball. (I wanted to play his position, so I was inclined to think he was blundering.)

Half time came and went, all substitutes were replaced… except me. Eventually I tired and sat on the grass, only getting sadder as it dawned on me that the coach actually wasn’t going to let me play. An hour into the duel, we went two goals down. A perverse vindication thrilled my heart when the left winger wasted an open scoring chance. Coach barked incessant orders and hard words into the pitch a few feet from where I sat cross-legged. Formation was changed, positions exchanged, tactics interchanged, nothing was working – coach did everything… except sub me in. I resigned myself to not playing and tried not to let my disappointment show.

At length my disaffection was turned on its head when, briefly turning my back to our mediocre performance on the pitch, behold! There stood Anita a few meters behind me. She’d just left work and was still in her formal skirt-suit. A large handbag hung off her elbow. Months of not seeing her had exorcised the effects of her presence on my carefree conduct, but they quickly came crashing back: a keen concentration to look well to my goings, walk circumspectly and avoid flippant remarks in her esteemed company. I adjusted my collar.
 

A quick glance at the coach: his neck veins were taut with screaming at the midfield. I rose to my feet.

“Hi.” I said, walking to Anita, enjoying the pleasant surprise.
“You’re not the happiest,” she said.
“We’re losing. How long have you been standing there?”
“Long enough.”
“That’s just creepy.”
“Why don’t you get in there and score?”
“Now that you’re here, I don’t want to.”

She laughed; dismissive in tone, yet oddly heartwarming for the length of her smile and the depth of her dimples.

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