He closed his eyes and tilted his head back, allowing the cold water to slap his face and prevent his breathing. The water was cold…the night was cold….the water was cold, on memories was cold.
“In my dream Kwame was playing at a biiiiiiiggg stadium, he dribbled left and right, all the players were falling down then it was player to keeper, he chipped the ball naaaaa gooooaaalllll, everybody was shouting and he run and he was shouting and then he fell down and started crying”
The table fell an awkward silent, Juniors smile slowly fading as he noticed not everyone was as enthused about his dream as he was. The sound of forks to plate suddenly sounded louder than life. Kwame kept his eyes on his food, he could feel his father staring at him, could feel the cold glare burning into the sides of his head. Mother coughed.. “Kwame, how is the exam going?”
He appreciated the help, but then he knew what was coming, she shouldn’t have mentioned school…anything but school.
“It’s going fine..” He kept his eyes on his almost empty plate…almost…then he could escape…keep calm…
‘’It is going fine, what do you have tomorrow?”
The sound of forks stopped now, there was only silence.
Father wiped his mouth and lay back in the chair
“I said what do you have tomorrow? Answer me when I talk to you.”
His voice was croaky when he replied, saliva built inside his throat. “Social Studies”
Mother got up and started clearing the table, “Junior, help me pack the things”
There was nowhere else he could look now, he lifted his head and met his fathers stare. Mother reached for his plate, there was a silent “im sorry” in the way she moved, nothing was said but he felt it, later she would open the door to his room, and she would say I love you and he would know. And she would know, even in his silence.
It was just the two of them now.
“West African countries and their capitals, go!”
“Ghana, Accra, Nigeria, Lagos, Togo….Lome….Ivory Coast….” His throat felt dry…”Yamoussoukro…Benin…Benin…” He eyes fell to the table again.
He knew he didn’t know, he kept his eyes on the table.
“Foolish boy! Foolish Lazy fool!”
The calmness with which he said it was always what hurt, not what he said. Like it was a fact, like it was something he was so sure of.
“The exam is going well. Who do you think you’re fooling, me? Me im done living my life ooo hah. look at you. A disgrace, that’s what you are. 30% in Mathematics, 40% in Science, what at all are you good for? What is wrong with you??? Look at your friends, look at the people you play football with, why cant you advice yourself?”
He was shouting now, Kwames hands quivered underneath the table, he fought back his tears, crying would only make it worse.
“All you know is football, you think all these footballers with their rasta and fast cars they are going to be like that forever? You think im going to allow my son live that life while his friends become doctors and presidents?, you think I will allow you to waste your life? You are joking! Foolish boy, you hear me? You are joking!!!”
The tears fell now, they fell in torrents. Father slammed the table and his heart lept, shock hitting him so he jerked back hard.
“You better wipe your face before I give you something actually worth crying about!”
He tried, God he tried..
Father seemingly lept off the table and half walked half bounced past the living room towards the Kitchen. He could hear his mothers voice, pleading, his father said nothing. He had broken into silent spasms now, his chest heaving a strong breath… He waited
Father entered eyes crazy and swung, he shielded his face with his 13 year old arms, the pain burst through his forearm and he fell to the ground. The cain went high up above him and again it fell, he screamed.
He closed his eyes and tilted his head back, allowing the cold water to slap his face and prevent his breathing. The water was cold…the night was cold…..the water was painful…on his skin, was painful.
Junior was sitting on his bed when he came out from the bathroom, head down, playing with his knuckles. It was only when he sat next to him that he realized his brother was crying.
“Im sorry Kwame..sob sob..im..”
Kwame hugged him.
He closed his eyes and tilted his head back, allowing the cold water to slap his face and prevent his breathing. The water was cold…the night was cold…..the water was painful…on the last bath,painful.
He drove through the hotels parking lot to nowhere, hed rather be anywhere but alone, alone would leave him with thoughts, thoughts were the last thing he needed right now. He turned the radio as he eased off a corner, some music, god, some music.
“And in footballing news…”
Sighing he turned it off and stepped on the acceleration, from the open window he smelt rain coming, that cold sensation washing over him… his eyes welled up.
The rain met him in open space, speeding past empty shops and bums and the occasional prostitute about retiring from an honest day’s work. He stepped harder on the acceleration as he approached Welkshire.
“And in breaking news…”
Junior stared at the television set in disbelief. He sat stone frozen, then slowly realization hit…this was actually happening….THIS WAS ACTUALLY HAPPENING!!!!
The fall was slow, it was the wail that followed him hitting the carpet that got Bryan out.
“Jay? God Jay!!!!”
When he finally looked up his face was a wet mess, snought choking his every word,
“He killed him, he finally killed him!”
Bryan turned towards the T.V…
He closed his eyes and his head whip-lashed back, through a dent in the roof the rain dripped over his face and prevented his breathing. The water was cold…the night was cold….the water was cold, in the end, its cold.
The phone rung right about the time he heard the news and he just knew it was his brother
“Junior did you hear??? Did you hear !!???” The excitement surpassed his, he felt tears in his eyes at his brother words
“I did Kwame I did !!!! I knew it I always knew Kwame”
He could hear him crying at the end of the line, and he feared to ask what he knew he had to
“Have you told daddy yet?”
There was a long pause, he could tell Kwame was thinking, he could tell Kwame was sad.
“He told me never to call him again the last time… I don’t know if I can handle his rejection again, really I don’t”
“I know….but this is a big deal… not just to us, to everyone.”
“Junior I don’t know. Moms death made him worse, I don’t know”
“Have you told him about Bryan?”
“Mine is not a big deal… im all father has now, im all he will accept, im scared what will happen to him if he pushes me away. If he finds out, he’ll push me away.”
There was another long pause…
“And in breaking news… this just coming in, ace footballer Kwame Ansah on a possible suicide. We take you to the scene, with Adam Klitchko”
“Adam, what exactly is going on?”
“Good morning James, im standing right infront of the Walkshire bridge right now where as you can see, ambulances and the police are doing all they can to recover the body of ace Ghanaian international and FIFA Footballer of the year nominee Kwame Ansah. Kwame was found dead this morning beneath the Walkshire bridge only some 8 hours before the FIFA Ballon Dor after an eyewitness who noticed a speeding vehicle break through the barricade and over the bridge informed the police. The promising Athletico Madrid forward is suspected to have driven himself over the bridge although the police are refusing to make anything concrete known to the press as at now. Kwame who has had some trouble with alcohol and drug use before just seemed getting his life straight, helping his team win the coveted league cup and being the first African player nominated for the prestigious award. Little is known as to the reasons behind the apparent suicide but investigations are still ongoing. I am still trying to gather up some witnesses here, but that is all for now, I trust we will keep you informed on happenings”
In Accra, a conversation replayed in a fathers mind.
“Footballer of the year so what? So you can come back and im supposed to accept you and hug you and kiss you? God forbid, you hear me? Over my dead body, a disgrace, thats what you are,not my son. You seized being my son the moment you stepped out of this house. How dare you! How dare you speak to me! See, never call this line again! I don’t knw you! you’re not my problem anymore.”