The ball sat there, looking all cute and fierce. It begged to be kicked and my leg was aching, it wanted to kick something. I ran to the ball and hit it as hard as I could. My neighbor and best friend, Isaac, not like I ever called him that, sat across the field with his new camera in his hand. I subtly watched as he fiddled with it. We were nine, what did we know? “Amy stay still” Zic said. Zic took a lot of pictures that day, of all of us. We were five that liked playing football, we all lived in the same neighborhood. Steve, Ike, Mark, Toby and me, we played football like it was part of us. During Christmas that year, we decided to share gifts within our circle. I got a gift from my secret Santa, Toby, a necklace, and I have never taken it off since then. It’s a silver necklace and has a ball pendant, it is beautiful.
Now, Isaac is a pro when it comes to taking pictures and I’m kind of a big deal when it comes to football at our school. As for the group, well, it disbanded a long time ago, when Steve died. Some of us stopped playing ball for some time, others permanently. Ike relocated to another part of the country and Toby became a shadow of himself. Zic and I got closer, because we’re neighbors. I live with my parents in Lagos, Nigeria, Lekki to be precise. My parents are into business, all kinds. My mum sells clothes and accessories and my dad has his own company. They’re influential and rich but not exposed. In the sense that, they want me to study Economics abroad possibly USA but I want to be a footballer. Now, when they talk about it, I just don’t argue because I know it’s what I want to do that I would do, that’s how teenagers are meant to behave, right?
“I finally know what I’m going to study” Zic says, as he walks into my house casually like it’s his, “and what would that be Zee Zee?” he hates it when I call him that, the scowl on his face is evident. “Accounting, Amy” Zic knows I hate being called Amy, it’s too girly for me. “Touché” I say, rolling my eyes. We talk about his future for a while before he brings up mine. ”Ames, you can’t possibly tell me you still want to be a footballer” Zic says standing up, “Look, I know it sounds unrealistic but that’s really what I want to do” I say with zeal, I know he knows I want this very much so I really don’t get why he’s being unsupportive. “I’m not saying you shouldn’t do what you want to do, I’m just begging you to actually sit down and think about it” Zic replies. “Fine!” I say, bringing out my phone. “So, how exactly are you going to convince your parents” Zic says, I say I have a plan but, I honestly don’t. I walk Zic to the door and I tell him to greet his mum for me. Going to my room, everything starts to dawn on me, I needed to draft a plan for “my escape”. I’m not running from home, yet, I just need a very solid basis and a mighty shelter for World War III that I’m about to start.
The next day at school, I hear a rumor that a scout is coming to check out Darky. Darky isn’t a star football player at our school but he actually wants to be a footballer and his parents are in support of that. I envy him. At our school, I’m the only female football player but I’m very good, as our sports teacher would say. As the scout arrives, Zic gives me a sad look as I look at the scout, “I know you desperately want to be the one he picks but Ames, think about it” Zic says as he starts walking to class. Yes, I know what you’re thinking, Zic is a very good friend, but at that point, he was saying things I didn’t want to hear. After thinking for a while, I had an idea. Our sports teacher was probably going to recommend me to the scout. He was going to watch the football match tomorrow where I’d play my ass out to impress him, so I’d be able to get his attention and if I was lucky, get him to scout me. If playing my ass out was the difficult part of the plan, then I had this in the bag.
As predicted, our sports teacher recommended me to the scout before hand and by the looks on his face when I scored my first goal, my dreams were coming true. He looked impressed, not to gloat but I know I’m pretty awesome. I got him to scout for me and I told Zic. At first, he seemed happy but later he told me I couldn’t go. “I’m starting to think you don’t want me to go for personal reasons” I say to Zic in the living room “Ames you asked for my opinion and I’m telling you, you’re not thinking” Zic says “Look, I have things to do, when you’re ready to change your mind, come over” Zic further says as he walks out the door. I go to up to my room and think. The only reasonable conclusion I can come up with is telling my parents I’d study Economics but I’d actually play football when I get there. I’d try to convince them that the College I’m going to can actually make me study what they want and be who I want, sounds risky but very possible.
I tell Zic about my scheme the next day. He just shook his head and walked to class. I really do not know what that means but I’m guessing it’s something bad. Zic and I go home together every day but Fridays. I practice on Fridays and Zic doesn’t wait for me. That day, the scout told me the school would love to have me at their institution, I asked him, if I’d be able to study Economics alongside playing, and he said I would, I was later given a form to give my parents. Getting home, I see my parents’ cars parked and I immediately sigh, I enjoy solitude. Opening the door, I hear voices “I can’t believe she would do that” My dad says. When I get to the living room, I see Zic seated alongside my parents. “What’s going on?” I say looking at everybody, “we should be asking you that question” My mum says. “So, you wanted to trick us, you’d go to football academy and we’d be here thinking you’re studying just economics” My dad says. I immediately look at Zic, he told on me, really, he actually told on me, I couldn’t believe what was happening. World War III had started and Zic had initiated it.
World War III ended almost as soon as it began. I went up to my room angry, my parents said they wouldn’t sign whatever consent form I was given and that got me riled up, I was livid. I was angry at everyone Zic included. Throughout the weekend, I didn’t talk to Zic. I left for school early on Monday so Zic would get the hint that I wasn’t talking to him. He tried to talk to me in class but I just pretended to be listening to what the teacher was saying, He knew I was faking it because I really wasn’t interested. I resolved in my mind that I wouldn’t talk to him for two weeks and we would’ve graduated by then and I would have travelled to study “Economics”. It’s not like I was completely lonely, I talked to my seat partner, Temi and even invited her over on Thursday. The form was due for submission the next day and I submitted my form to the sports teacher, I had forged my parents’ signature. I didn’t want to spend my whole life regretting.
The day before we were meant to graduate Zic showed up at my house with his camera and Ice cream, that was our way of apologizing. Truth be told, I had missed him. That day, we talked about everything we had gone through, we laughed, he cried. He apologized and said he really shouldn’t have put his nose in my business and how he was just trying to look out for me, it was cute but we had a graduation ceremony to prepare for.
Graduation was amazing. It was hard saying goodbye to the other players, I was definitely going to miss the field. The only thing I could use to console myself was the fact that I was going to play very soon. I was going to be where I was meant to be. We threw a little party at my house, Isaac came over with his parents, it was fun but I needed to pack my remaining stuff, so I left early. Getting to the airport the next day, I felt bad that I didn’t tell Zic my actual plan. The way he hugged me, it felt like he knew, or maybe I’m just overreacting. My mum cried and Zic just wiped a few stray tears, my dad just told me he was going to miss me. “Bye” I said as I walked away. Now, I’m seated, my future in front of me. I’m scared but I’m happy. I made the right decision, right?
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