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Litro was deeply saddened to learn of Obinna Emeka’s recent passing. His immense love for literature & his journey as a writer remains an inspiration. We mourn the loss of this talented, young writer who, in the limited time he had in this world, touched so many lives through his words.
Loneliness is the uninvited spectator that comes to a final. He graduates from spectator to companion when your team goes behind. On the pitch, your players don’t need him; they have ten others for company.
Not you. You’re the coach. You have to make do with Mr. L.
So, you entertain him. You squat on the sideline, you pace, you shout, you pace and shout, you pull on the grass and look up to the sky, begging for a miracle.
Silence. L’s only language.
This morning, you were a different picture; a bespectacled bundle of enthusiasm. Spring in your step, glint in your eyes, grin on your face. You hardly smile, but not today. Today, you were practising for later.
You had imagined the final to come in the evening. How your team would overcome a three-goal deficit and win four – three. How Ama’s trickery would be the fuel and Luke’s directness, the spark. You loved comebacks.
Seven hours later, it was not three goals down, but one goal. Jude, your goalkeeper, fumbled the ball from a corner kick, and the opposition—defending champions for three years—scored. There would be no comeback. The easiest of winners for the least deserving side.
When the game ends, you seek your players to console them. You pat them on their sweaty backs and tell them, even without believing it, that next year is their year. No one looks for you, though. Somehow, people think the players feel it more.
So, you trudge home. Alone. Defeated. When you reach home, in need of comfort, you call Amarachi, your squeeze.
Girls never got football. But just like on the pitch some moments ago, you hoped for a miracle, hoped she would somehow feel the pain.
Just like on the pitch, you get nothing. The day’s theme is silence.
Authored by Obinna Emeka
Obinna Emeka is a Nigerian writer whose short stories have been published in Brittle Paper, African Writer Magazine, and The Kalahari Review. In 2015, he was awarded the Literary Excellence Award by the Association of Nigerian Authors. In 2016, he started Scenomaniac, an Instagram movie page, which currently has over fourteen thousand followers.