Written for Carry On Tuesday
What came over him that day he never understood. All he knew was that it would be final; there’d be no going back.
It was a typical late summer’s day in a park . A few mums sitting on benches chatting whilst their children ran around catching balls, chasing each other and skipping . He felt separate from all he saw around him. Since he’d been left to bring up their little boy alone his life had changed . He seemed to be coping but behind his mask of contentment lived a troubled soul, desperately unhappy and confused about what if anything the future held . He bounced a football once or twice at his feet then kicked it high into the air . It sailed off into the distance and little Simon raced after it at fast as his seven year old legs could carry him. ‘Go on son’ he yelled as the ball fell towards the ground. With a hop and a twist Simon stopped the ball, and with all the strength he could muster he kicked it back again . A perfect shot . Suddenly everything around him seemed to go into slow motion. ‘Dad’ he called ‘Where are you?’
Every Sunday morning Simon played football with his village team. He was a pretty good player by all accounts; until recently he’d been the captain of his university team. The match would always be followed by a few pints at The Dog and Duck, a post match analysis and a few bawdy songs. One Sunday they played a particularly tough game against a neighbouring village. There were just a couple of minutes to go and neither side had scored a goal.
Simon saw a chance to win the game as the ball landed at his feet. With the agility of a dancer he stopped it, turned and prepared himself for the kick that would decide the victory. ‘Go on son’ a voice called from the crowd. He froze. He could see his mates shouting at him but he couldn't hear a thing, just that voice ringing in his head; ‘Go on son’. He saw the referee raise the final whistle to his mouth. He just stood still.
Suddenly everything around him erupted . His pals looked stunned. They were asking him what on earth had happened. Why didn't he shoot the ball into the net? But Simon just stood there staring into the distance. A man was opening the door of a car and as he did so he looked back over his shoulder at Simon. He never saw him again.