- Vol. 06
- Chapter 06
I don’t know why I did it.
Why I felt I had to come back here every Thursday.
To be quite frank, I don’t even know why I still held on to him.
It had been 7 years ago, anyway.
His last game had been a disaster – bloody gums stretched into fake smiles and dirt-stained uniforms plastered onto broken bodies standing side by side for a forced photograph. The picture stripped the pain from their eyes, hiding the suffering each one had endured and creating the illusion of a successful game.
As I held that photograph in my right hand, splaying my body on the morning dew which covered that familiar field, I allowed my weight to sink into the ground and bring myself back to that day.
The screaming of spectators melted together into a disapproving boo as the other team was frantically getting ushered away by the useless referee. Angry fathers from the crowds jumped into the fields, their faces redder than the blood oozing out of the player’s heads as they screamed and waved their fists at the opponents. The sun scorched the ground in its overwhelming heat, amplifying the ringing in my head as I ran to him.
The music blasting in my ears couldn’t drown out the blaring of my thoughts.
The photograph had stood as a reminder that things would get better.
Things wouldn’t get better.
His helmet didn’t fit the same after his hair started falling out. His uniform hung loosely off his baggy clothes. His energy started depleting one month after the diagnosis, and it was only a matter of time before practices started destroying him.
Thursday’s GameThat game, on that Thursday, had been his last.
Today, my son would have turned 28.
Laying on that quiet field every week, it didn’t help me to accept that he was gone.
But it was my photograph.
An image of a player taken from the field too soon.