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A matter of Faith


It was a warm day when I first started.  The summer sun was lapsing away and with it brought the magnificent oranges and yellows of autumn.  I remember few other days like I do that: The first time I took to the field in Rugby, that random holiday to Turkey, my 11th birthday … for some reason unknown to me, but most of all, this day:

The pitch was wet.  It had rained the entire week before. I had just started a new school and had no real friends so I kicked.  I kicked enough to say that I was probably the greatest kicker in the history of that school.

Suddenly, I noticed a slight tang of lit tobacco in the air.  It wasn’t unusual to smell this nearer the school; we were pretty close to the city after all and the entire staff and student bodies were like chimneys alike, but this was the rugby pitch at the bottom of the school.  Sacred ground.  Smoking here would be like stepping into a mosque with shoes on.  Not to mention that it was after hours and miles away from the school.

In a moment of blind passion or utter rage I hadn’t quite decided by that point, I set off like Galahad toward the Holy Grail; devout on finding the cause of the smell.

“You know this is the rugby pitch right?”  I said when I eventually found the cause of the smell in the form of a chestnut haired and eyed girl about my age, if not a year older.

“It talks!” she said with a fake laugh behind her voice.

“You’ve been watching me?” I asked.  She nodded before saying:

“You come out here every day before and after school for at least an hour after school and kick rugby balls through the posts.”

“And you?”

“This was my spot before yours mate.  It’s the only where I can come to get away from my friends with first leaving.” You got a rizla?  You got a filter?” She said sarcastically. “Amelia.” She held out her have before it then being received by mine.

“Aaron.” I said.  From that point on we’d always talk after my kicking of course, sometimes longer than my daily sessions.  Then on one of our many talks about the rugby team I’d just joined when coming to the school:

“Yeah Mark,” Amelia said, “He’s my boyfriend.”

I didn’t know what else to do, what else to say.  NO words, only actions.

Anger.  I stood, heading towards the car park where my black Mercedes was parked.  Remorse.  It was a rather petulant move I admit, but, what else was I supposed to do?  Hatred.  Why didn’t she tell me earlier?  Regret. What am I supposed to do now?

Foxes.  We’d always had then near the school woods.  Every so often we’d even had to chase them off the pitch before playing.  However, I’d never seen one on the roads outside the school.  So, as the evening mist accumulated like the rear on my seat, I didn’t stand a chance of seeing one until it was near enough a metre or so away.  But alas, it was too late.

Quickly, I swerved, hitting the verge that outlined the roundabout at the bottom of the school road.  Then after a dazzling display of summersaulting aluminium and flying rubber, I came back down to earth.

I think it was a mixture of the head trauma and medicine that made me forget the many weeks in hospital after the event.  One of the few things I do remember however is waking up in a neck brace, no sense of anything in my legs; but a sense of a small embrace in my left hand, and the faint scent of dried tobacco.


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