Prompt: A young athlete
I look down at the football pitch from the second floor window. They’re already on it, kicking the ball between them. I know they’re waiting for me. They always wait for me. It’s sort of nice, to feel like I’m part of that team. A family. I just wish that sometimes they’d get on with it without me. What if I didn’t turn up? What if I was ill? What if I decided that I didn’t want to play?
Ok, that’s a ridiculous statement. I always want to play. I think. No, I do. Playing football is what I’m good at. I don’t know… it’s just something in my mind that clicks into place when I’m on the pitch. Like, I know exactly where I am, where I need to go. It’s easy. So, I might as well play. Anyway, if I didn’t, people would be really let down. That’s why they wait.
I didn’t ever ask them to wait. They started doing that on their own when I was made captain. I didn’t ask to be made captain. Apparently, it’s a top scorer thing, but that doesn’t seem fair either. What about Jonesy in goal? They’ll never get a chance. It’s not fair.
Someone glances up at the window and I duck away just in time. Not that I don’t want them to see me. But I should be down there, with them, not up here watching them. They’ll think I’m making them wait. I’m not making them wait. They could start without me. We’ll need to warm up before Mr Lewis comes out anyway. They could be doing that without me. They don’t need me to warm up.
I hear Mr Lewis come out of his office, the whistle loud, and I know he’s probably asking where I am. I could not go. I could go for a run instead. Maybe go and see what’s on at the cinema. I could just walk out of the school. I mean, I’d probably have to go out the back gate because they’d definitely stop me at the front gate, but I could still leave.
I can hear footsteps on the stairs and I move quickly. I nip down the stairs, taking two at a time, my bag slapping against my bum. I hit the bottom of the stairs and jog towards the door. This is it. I could just leave. I could be gone, and just not play today. I freeze, my mind racing, my legs itchy. And then the whistle blows, and someone shouts my name and I know. There’s no way I’m leaving. I sigh, turning towards the pitch and jogging into the sun.