2014 WORLDCUP: ONE MATCH, ONE GOAL, ONE MEMORY. A TRUE STORY.

Since the world cup started, my husband snores with an effortless creativity; he kicks off slow and steadily with a humming sound, then his pitch heightens suddenly and abruptly unties until he observes some quiet as if to reboot, then he resumes and tunes into a jerky deafening roar, stills momentarily, only to pick up again muttering jumbled statements that would end up in a cataleptic “a goal!”; he stills again and replays the drama, again and again and again until morning. When it becomes unbearable, I would move to Junior’s room – our 5 year-old son – and in the middle of the night little junior would say “has daddy been shouting again?” – I don’t know where he got that from – and I would say, “I came to make sure your cover cloth stays on you”, and I will lull him to sleep.
Junior sleeps before eight PM, and by that time, I am usually be done with house chores, set to relish some good entertainment – Toke’s ‘trending’ has been my favorite show lately; I hardly miss it… until world cup. So every evening as soon as was is 7.30pm, my husband would curl up as he lounges on the sofa before the playing teams started to sing their country’s anthem, eyes staring fixedly on our 24 inches Samsung home theatre, disobeying Doctor Fred’s warning about TV screens, he would cling to the remote controller the way a tight fitted shirt clings on to the body of his owner, place his hands – now flabby and unattractive – over his tummy, then he would put on a palpable look that boldly wrote on his four head, ‘don’t interrupt!’, so I dint interrupt, he was not interrupted, but I knew something was being interrupted, us!
Come July, Junior will be 6. For some time now, we’ve been looking to God to grant us junior’s younger one – Junior’s dad wants a boy again. Doctor Fred Osage, the ever smiley medic had said that junior’s dad and I should happen more often these days, and at nights too. So when he isn’t snoring – that’s when he isn’t too tired, I would make the moves, then he would angrily say, “can’t you see Spain lost to Chile, I am not in the mood”, or he would shout, “why are you so insensitive, Nigerian dint score no goals, no points, that’s what it means!”. So, in junior’s room, when Junior was asleep, I would sleep off relishing the memories of Dr Fred’s soothing pranks.
We had jelled from the first day we met, at Iseyin camp, we had many things in common: our profession; he was a Doctor and I, a pharmacist, we were in the same platoon, he registered in camp next to me, so, when my number was called, his was called next, and most of all, we were posted to the same place of primary assignment, UCH, Ibadan, and then when I got married, while we were still serving, he remained a good friend and to my amazement, he played the role of a friend to a married woman perfectly well. When I was pregnant of junior he was the first person to notice, even before Junior’s dad.
Every morning, on our way out of the house, – my husband, to the, I, to his office, I, to my pharmaceutical shop and Junior to school- in order to break the incongruous silence that gives voices to our different concerns, my husband would explain to junior how he loves Spain so dearly because he had spent 6 years of his youth there before he crossed over to Canada, and how he was emotionally crushed when they lost their match. So when it wasn’t Chile loosing, it was Cote d’Ivoire not having points or Nigeria not displaying technicality or the Coach from USA not being fair. So when on Tuesday evening, Junior’s dad had decided to watch the Nigerian match at the bar in Ikolaba, and Junior had been sick, I had rushed Junior to Dr Fred’s, and when the Doctor had suggested Junior be admitted, I had sensed it was due to his nonstop vomiting. Junior had calmed down and slept only after a series of injections. Then in the night, the ward was empty, the nurse was asleep, there was no NEPA and the generator had gone off …in his arms, the tranquility was ineffable, then when he called my name, an unfamiliar youthfulness overwhelmed my essence; it was a feeling I had missed for years. I didn’t feel awkward until I saw my dress carelessly thrown on the tiled floor of his room, it was too late. In the morning I heard the result of the Nigerian match, it was one goal to nothing!
I didn’t see Doctor Fred again until the next six weeks when I went to his office to show him the result of the pregnancy test, to tell him that I was pregnant and he was responsible! When I go to the receptionist, she was reluctant to allow me in to the Doctor’s office; I waited till a visitor walked out of his office, then I stood and briskly I faced the next two doors by the right. A little boy of Junior’s age ran to me and held my knee immediately I opened the door, I hugged him and walked to the middle of the room, I saw another boy that looked so much like the first one that ran to me, then, a young woman, she was carrying a baby who seemed to be sleeping. Before I could frame out the slightest courtesy to anyone in the room, Fred smiled and said, facing me, “meet my wife, and my kids” they came into town last week, and then to his wife, “meet Mrs Coker, an old client of this hospital”. As I ignited the car, confused and empty at the same time, I said to myself, it is indeed one goal to nothing!

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Picture by GETTY IMAGES/EPA

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