The ball was pinned in front of me, right at the penalty spot, the tumultuous roars from the fans who were cheering and putting sheer pressure on me at the same time. The sun was shining right above me, sun flares were dangling in my sight, hindering my concentration to save the game-changing penalty. She was waving and probably was shouting my name by looking at her hands cupped around her mouth who was at the corner of my eyes.
Brian. Focus. I must save the ball, if not our team would need to endure sixty more straining minutes or worse. The opposing striker professionally positioned himself, took five steps which was precisely needed to send a ball flying with high velocity. We exchanged our gaze for a few brief seconds, he was trying to avert my attention by slightly moving his iris to the top right corner, I astutely shifted my focus to his legs.
One, two, three, four, five. His steps stored him a great potential energy to be readily converted into kinetic energy, shortly after he lifted his right leg, I prepared myself to dive to the left. He used his right hind foot to shoot. I sprang forth to save the ball. But, the move was a counterfeit, the ball deliberately ricocheted from the right goal post into mid air. Another player sprinted towards the ball and had an open shot to the goal because I was unable to get up.
My heart instantly sank as he was about to score the equaliser. My eyes trailed the ball which was sent into a flying motion, ready to hit the back of the net. Bang! Charles cleared the ball and sent our team to a counter-attacking formation. It all happened so quickly, I was so terrified when my body did not respond to my command.
“GOALL!!! A CLINICAL FINISH FROM TADASHI!!!” the commentator’s voice boomed, the whole stadium revelled on our victory.
“Two-nil. The Kings are able to snag the trophy from the 3-time champ, London FC…” That was super close, if that ball would have scored, our team would be incapable of playing the extra time because those guys from London FC were top-notch and their pressure on the field was unbearable.
I removed my gloves, my palms were brutally bruised, blue-black patches were noticeable. At least we won the match… I walked to grab my water bottle and my shoes bag which was behind the goal post. A sudden embrace of amenity capsulated my sweaty back, standing petrified for a moment to enjoy the comfort of indulging in her cradle.
“Brian! Great keeping skills displayed!” Joycelyn said enthusiastically.
“Thanks…” I muttered under my breath.
“What’s with the down feeling? Haven’t you won?” she released me.
“Just… exhausted…” I was still catching my breath when I put my glasses on, “I didn’t do quite well though… especially for the last penalty…”
“Nah…” she gave me an invigorating pat, “You did your best! Let’s go to celebrate with your friends!”
“I have something else in my mind.” I grabbed her wrist and looked at the time, 18:27, “Remember what I promised you last time?”
“No worries. I told Charles.” I lied, “We still have approx 15 minutes.” Our hands were gently intertwined, we slipped out from the stadium.
“Where are you taking me?” she demanded.
“To a place where I enjoy…”
“The setting sun.” she finished my sentence as she broke free from my grip, “right?”
“How did you read me like a book every single time?” I groused as I looked into her eyes.
“I don’t know.” she nonchalantly answered me with her pristine complexion that always captivated my heart. The flood gates of memories were lifted up, the reminiscence of the inception of meeting her lingered in my mind.