I watch him as he flies by like an actual superhero. Sometimes I can’t believe I’m still watching his games and TV-shows. Not that I blamed him for his behavior.
Our relationship was just like every high school love story, but in the end. It ends. That’s the thing about most high school love-stories, in the end they end.
That’s what happened with ours, it ended, and he left. The way he left, for that I blamed him but not for what he left me with. Just like every couple in high school we were head over heels for each other, and for a couple of years I could explore and show him the love I felt for him. I know he loved me, he loved me dearly, but it wasn’t enough.
As I watch him play soccer for the billionth time, I feel my heart clench. I hope soccer was worth sacrificing everything for.
I really hope he feels like this was worth it. I hope that when he finds out, he’ll think it was worth it. Because I know it wasn’t, not for some stupid game. A game that ripped my family apart, not that he knew of course.
Of course, he didn’t know. He left without an explanation. That he did I thought to myself.
The day before our graduation, he left. And a week later I saw him playing for his dream team. Manchester United.
I grunt and change the channel to whatever is different than watch my high school sweetheart play the game that he left me for.
‘Mom!’ I turn around to see Julia throwing her popcorn at me.
‘What?’ She rolls her big brown eyes grunting.
‘I was watching the game. You know I love seeing Manchester play!’ She yells at me.
I give her the remote, ‘Sorry, baby.’
She quickly changes the channel to see her favorite player play.
‘Come on, Dean!’ She yells at the screen.
I feel my heart break a little as she yells her father’s name to the screen. She doesn’t even know it’s her dad, since I never told her, and she never asked.
When she asks and I know she will, I’ll tell her. But I think she knows the story. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out. I had her when I was 16. Making her 14 right now.
My life wasn’t the easiest, but that doesn’t mean I have regrets. I regret nothing. I might be 30 years old right now and my girl pushes me to date sometimes, but I don’t feel the need to date. Knowing the heartbreak that can come with it.
‘Holy shit!!!’ I hear Julia scream.
‘Language!’ I yell back.
‘Ref! That’s a fault!’ She screams again. I turn around and see Dean laying on the ground.
‘Holy fuck!’ Dean is crumbling on the ground, the look on his face says it all. He’s in pain. A terrible pain, he wasn't a wuss.
‘Mom, I think it’s bad.’ She says wiping a tear away, looking at the screen.
‘Let’s just wait, baby. I’m sure they’ll let us know what’s wrong with him.’ I tell her and pull her in for a hug.
We watch as the team doctors carry him off the field and into the locker rooms.
Even though Manchester won, like they mostly do. Nobody felt like celebrating, knowing their star-player is hurt. A couple of minutes after the game ended, we sit on the couch hoping they’ll have some good news for us.
‘Dean Campell, star-player is gravely injured. It looks like his ACL on his right knee is ruptured. Besides this, it looks like a small rupture of his femur bone. We don’t know if he’s ever going to be able to play again. We will know more after he’s in the hospital. But we are certain that he won’t play this season anymore.’
‘No!’ Julia screams at the screams.
’Oh God, but that. This….’ Julia’s eyes start to tear up. I look at my daughter and see that her world is crumbling down.
‘God, mom. What will he do?’ She asks and for the first time, I’m not able to answer her.
All I know is that tomorrow, we both have to go to school and that she has an important soccer game coming up. A game that can dictate her future.
Yes, the game that tore my family apart is also the game my daughter loves playing. I never stopped her from playing it. She doesn’t know anything about her dad. She doesn’t know he left me for the game, neither did I until I saw him on the TV.
I still remember it like yesterday.
‘Today the new player for Manchester will make his debut.’
I step out of the bathroom, still with the test in my hands as I see my Dean on the TV. Giving an interview.
‘Dean Campell, do you want to say anything to anyone?’ The reporter asks.
‘Yes, of course. I want to say thank you to my parents for giving me all the chances in the world. Without them, I wouldn’t have been here in the UK playing for my favorite team.’
‘Is there anything else? Or someone special in your life?’ Dean shakes his head,
‘No, well. I’m technically single. But I do need to say sorry.’ He says looking in the camera.
‘Sorry?’ He nods, ‘The person who the apology is for, will know.’ He says vaguely, but all I can do is throw the positive pregnancy test at the television.
'Asshole!’ I scream at the TV.
‘Just wait Dean, the day you come back. I’ll give you the slap in the face you deserved.’
That’s a promise, I thought to myself.
Over the years my hate or need to slap him in the face faltered. I don’t really feel the need anymore, but I do want to talk to him. I want an explanation.
Like every normal person, tried to reach him after I found out I was pregnant. Not for money, but just so he’d know. I was convinced he deserved to know that he was becoming a father.
But like every normal famous person, he never answered his phone. Not even after I left a voicemail for him. Asking him to call me back. The next day he changed phone-numbers and even though I tried to reach him through his manager, it never sticked.
So, when I went in labor and saw the little girl in my hands, I decided to move on and not to call him anymore. If he didn’t have the decency to call me back, he wasn’t worth it.
He just had to be my daughter’s favorite soccer player. Can my faith be even more cruel?