I opened the door and walked in without knocking, I usually do that and he never minds anyway…
I crept in and saw him standing in front of the mirror looking at . Was he nervous? I mused. He’s never nervous, he’s usually calm even when things go wrong.
I walked up to him and wrapped my arms around his waist, he looked at my image in the mirror and he gave me a boisterous smile. I smiled back.
He turned to face me and gave me a peck on the forehead.
‘I’m fine, Da.’ I paused and continued. ‘The match is in a few hours.’
He exhaled deeply.
‘Oh my God, you’re not nervous, are you?’
‘Niccy, do you get nervous when you play the keyboard?’
I shrugged, ‘sometimes.’
‘That’s because you’re still young. I’ve been at this soccer thing for ages.’
I smiled, I knew my Da. He was just the best. I stroked his cheeks.
‘There’s been 99 goals in FIFA World Cup this year.’ he said smiling down at me.
‘Am I thinking what you’re thinking?’
‘You’re my girl. You see right through me.’
I hugged him.
‘I’m proud of you. Even if things ever go wrong, I’ll always be proud of you.’
He hugged me back. There was always something about his chest. He hairs on it stroked my chin tenderly and it tickled.
‘I’ll make a knee slide for you when it happens. Watch out for it.’ He stroked my hair.
‘I came to wish you good luck.’ I broke the embrace and brought out my luck-badge and put it in his hands and closed it. He looked at me in the eyes.
‘What will I do without you?’ he asked..
‘I don’t know… Play soccer?’ we both chortled. I realised I was a bit nervous.
‘I’ll wear it with pride.’ he pecked my cheeks.
I gave him a two Mississippi hug and whispered a ‘good luck’.
I turned to go. I could feel his eyes on me, and on getting to the door, I turned and faced him.
‘Those photos I’ve been hiding…. In exchange for the goal.’
‘You got it.’ He was so confident.
When they came out of the locker room, I noticed him searching the stadium. Well, what. I couldn’t let him see me. He didn’t need that distraction.
In the first half of the game, I watched hi keenly, he was virtually the only person I could see on the pitch. The determination he played with. He needed that goal. Whenever it was family, he would do anything.
I wasn’t perturbed. Paapa never breaks his promise. I knew I’d get the goal he promised.
There it was, three touches in the air, and counter, I had my goal!
I got my goal, I got the knee and the world gets to see the photos.
I knew Paapa would do it. I knew he would!
He scored the 100th goal of the FIFA World Cup tournament. Talk out perfect timing and his promise to me.
‘Lionel Messi for president!’ someone from the back screamed and we all laughed heartily.
I have my concert in a few weeks. I am confident just as he is. He is my Da.
~Nicole Planofort Winifred