Anonymous Football Fan, far from Home

Anonymous Football FanI could imagine my parents. Mom going back and forth from the kitchen to the living room, asking how they were doing. Dad, as always, in his armchair, watching the time, cursing “the asshole” who phoned (my old fashioned dad thought that if someone phoned during a key match, it had to be either a woman or a fag). And then, of course, my empty armchair. I could not stop thinking about it and it bothered me deeply, knowing that my old man was not enjoying it because something was missing. I could not stop thinking that everyone was exactly where they were supposed to but us.

When the referee looked down at his watch and blew the final whistle, my team, our team, after a long 35 years’ wait, was champion again. I was about 30 years old, and felt a lump growing in my throat, the size of a melon. Instinctively, I strained my ears to hear the sound of honking cars and jubilation. But the silence felt like a slap on my face. The silent boy in the corner had now put his head between his arms and broke into tears. “He must be thinking of his family”, I thought.

I looked at the bartender, to see if he would smile at me, but he was uninterestedly polishing a cup and gazing at the clock, as if the world had not changed forever. Then I turned my back to my wife, so as not to let her see me cry and believe that football, that nonsense, could make me, an intellectual man, suffer. So I cried facing the wall, in a corner of the planet where my team meant nothing. Never before or since had I felt so far from everything that was mine, so against the world, so upside down in life, so in offside, so desperately alone. Farther than ever from pain and from jubilation.