She couldn’t explain it. He seemed so perfect. Everything about him tripped her. The way he walked, talked, smiled and perhaps frowned which he rarely did. It was never a dull moment with Emeka. He put the ‘L’ in laughter. He could crack your ribs till they snapped and hurt you. He would take your heavy heart laden with worries and make it as light as air with his jokes.

Cindy watched him that day as he performed ‘just a lil bit’ by 50 cents. He adored 50 cents a lot it almost seemed like an obsession. He swayed and moved around the stage as he performed his favourite song by his favourite artiste. Cindy watched and admired him even more. She wanted to go to him after his performance to say that he did a brilliant job up on stage, and may be even more. She got up from her seat and made the first step towards him. She stopped suddenly, just a few steps away from where he sat drinking from a bottle containing water. He seemed tired from the performance, but surely that wasn’t why she stopped. It wasn’t the first time she tried to express how she really felt about him. She’d had a crush on him since they were in J.S 3. They were in S.S 2 now and two things remained the same, well, three things: they were still in the same class, she still had a crush on him and she still couldn’t tell him how she felt about him. She would steal glances at him in the classroom, in hallways and in the dining hall.

The following week there was a football match. Ronik, the school Cindy and Emeka attended, was to play a neighboring school, Chrisland. The two schools were arch rivals with superb squads on either side. However, Ronik had an edge for this particular match; they were playing at home on their own field. Emeka was a top striker on Ronik’s football team. He had scored several goals for the school. He was a hero sought of, and that made Cindy very happy. She always enjoyed watching the school team practice. Emeka always impressed her with his dribbling and goals. She couldn’t wait to see him do the same against Chrisland.

It was 12 noon that day and classes had already ended because of the match that was slated for 2 p.m. At exactly 1.30 p.m, Chrisland’s football team and a small number of supporters arrived in a minibus. They looked very confident in their outfit: yellow jerseys with beautiful designs and numbers written behind each player, over plain black shorts. They looked like champions.
Ten minutes later, Ronik’s team emerged from the dressing room beside the pavilion. They walked through the neatly mowed lawn that marked out the basketball court. The ovation that greeted them was ecstatic. A pair of eyes was fixed on a particular player; he wore the number nine jersey for Ronik. It was Emeka, and the eyes were Cindy’s.

Thirty minutes into the game and no goal had been scored. It seemed like an evenly matched encounter. No team wanted to give in to the other. They played through the first half of the match without a goal to either of the teams.

It was ten minutes into the second half of the match when team Ronik had a break on the left. There was a perfect pass from the defense to the midfield. They moved the ball around very quickly, allowing the strikers to settle in their positions. There was a true pass to the player on the number nine jersey, Emeka. He moved the ball to the right a little, trying to create enough room to take a clear shot. He did that successfully and hit the ball very hard with his right foot. All eyes were on the ball moving with a velocity that was comparable only to that of light. It hit the back of the net quicker than it took for him to return his foot to the ground. GOAL!!! The screams were deafening, the crowd went wild.

Field play continued afterward with Chrisland trying desperately to equalize. They put much pressure on Ronik’s defense that the coach had to send the midfielders back into their own half. It was just ten minutes left to play when a certain player started to stagger sluggishly on the pitch. He stopped briefly to stare at the ground for a while, with his hands pressed firmly on his chest and a tight squeeze on his face. He was panting severely, gasping desperately for air. The noise of the crowd began to die down gradually as they observed the player on the field. The other players noticed him as well, they stopped play and ran towards him, calling for medic at the same time. He slumped to the ground before they got to him. He fell with his face to the ground. His jersey number showed clearly as he laid on the floor. It was jersey number nine- Emeka.

The medic and many of the players tried to get him to stand up, calling his name and tapping him, but he did not respond. They checked for pulse and heart beat, but they found none. The medic made a call to the clinic to make quick arrangements to rush him to the hospital immediately.
Meanwhile, someone was running uncontrollably from amongst the spectators seated at the pavilion watching the match. It was Cindy. She ran to where Emeka was lying on the floor and knelt beside him, she grabbed his right hand. It felt cold already. Tears were flowing down from her eyes already. She placed his hand on her already wet cheek. Her tears were very warm. She rubbed his hand softly on her cheek and then she bent to whisper something in his ear. “I have something to tell you”, she says. “I’ve always wanted to tell you” she continued, amidst sobs and plenty of tears. She whispered some more words into his ear and the medic asked her to leave as the vehicle was ready to take him away. She was about to let go of his hand when suddenly, he gripped her firmly. He blinked rapidly as he tried to open his eyes. His mouth opened before his eyes as he said very weakly. “I’ve always loved you too.” They take him away to the hospital.

Ten days later, Emeka returned from from the hospital never to play football again, but began a journey of love with Cindy. “You brought me back Cindy”, he said to her as they walked in each other’s arms to the dining hall for launch after school.

In loving memory of Emeka Igweneme who died last week, as a student in Covenant University while playing football on the field. We were high school mates.
I miss you dearly…

45 thoughts on “Linger…” by Scopeman (@scopeman60)

  1. Oh, so sad! I’m sorry for your loss. May he RIP.
    Wish the real Emeka could have survived like the fictional one.

    1. Thank you Lade… I still miss him.

  2. Good one. Guess there wasn’t a Cindy. Good story though. And sorry about your friend.

    1. Yes, there isn’t any Cindy. Thanks Jaywriter.

  3. A beautiful tribute to your friend. May his soul rest in peace.

    1. Amen… I just had to keep him alive somehow Kiru. Thanks.

  4. May his soul rest in peace… (So touching)

  5. I liked the story esp that ending,it drew me in completely.
    So so sorry bout ur friend,I understand how you feel coz I’ve been there.
    Good one.

    1. Thank you Gretel… He was barely 21, had his whole life ahead of him… It just didn’t make sense to anybody, how he just fell and died… well, he’s gone to a better place now, that is the comforting thought.

  6. It’s his mum who was hit the most surely. He was her only son, her only child. Now, she’s all by herself.

  7. Seriously, life can be hard. A young man in the prime of his life? I pray his mother recovers from this tragedy.

    Well done Scopesman, apart from the slight inconsistency in your tenses, switching from past tense to present continuous, i really like.
    I only wish it wasn’t real.

    1. Thank you Remi, I guess I so much wanted him to live on that it affected my consistency.

  8. This is truly heartfelt. If only it could have ended better for your friend… May he rest in peace.

    1. Amen Uche, Amen. Thank you very much.

  9. Well done man…this is something to remember in reality…may his gentle soul rest in perfect peace….

    1. Amen Treasured1… Thank you very much.

  10. ditto Remi…but the end note blew all intended corrections from my mind. I feel your pain my guy…i hope he made it.

    Nice one.

    1. Presido, he didn’t make it, he died.

      1. JUst saw that.

        I’m sure he’s resting now.

        1. I’m sure he is too….thanks.

          1. That ‘other’ story…where should i send it to? Paste it as a note on FB?

            1. Well, if you wish to publish it as a note on FB it’s fine by me, just tag me in it and I’ll be sure to get back to you on what I think.

  11. Touching story, Scopeman. It’s interesting how we only realise how much we love someone when they are about to be taken away from us. It was also sad that Emeka was never to play again, but at least there was something he found to make up for it.

    I was going to complain about how we never got any sign that Emeka fancied Cindy too, but I guess the story was written from Cindy’s POV. Still, I thought that women has some sixth sense that they used to figure out who was interested in them. :)

    PS Sorry to hear about your friend.

    1. Thank you TolaO.

  12. Awww! Sorry about your friend man! I just wish reality could swap places with the beautiful fictional story it inspired.

    1. Thank you Tee, I wish so too…

  13. i am very sorry accept my condolence.
    this story(the end)got emotions flowing

    1. Thank you very much IBKinx…

  14. So sorry about your friend, may he rest in peace. Lovely story, Great tribute.

    1. Thank you AnnaBella, I found strength to bear the loss…

  15. Was immersed in the story Scope, but the ending tinged me with sadness…

    Its good you’ve decided to keep his memory by writing this.

    Well done!!!

    1. Thank you Lawal, really, thank you.

  16. It took me so long to comment, but I had to anyways. This is a great piece despite the fact that it was dedicated to your friend, I really enjoyed it. Emeka would definitely live on in this story.

    1. Thank you very much Clinton, Yesterday would have been his 21st birthday. I guess he lives on after all, in heaven though…

  17. Hey Scope, so sorry it took a while even with your nudging.

    Its hard to especially critique a piece that’s a tribute to a memory, because only you know and bear the weight of your loss. He’s gone Scope but he’s still very much around, in the hearts of all who love him still.

    Happy Belated Emeka; hopefully, you’re in a much better place!

    1. No problem Abby, thank you very much. My consolation is that he’s gone to a better place.

  18. wow.may his soul RIP.

    1. Amen… Thanks Matthew.

  19. @SCOPEMAN!!!!!!well done bro…well carved up story, painted with right tone of colors. Dammit! it touched me real hard bro… sorry for your friend who died…

    NOTE: last line of the 2nd to the last paragraph :”…They take him away to the hospital”… i think take should be took..

    1. Thank you Brainypoet… Correction noted as well.

  20. @scopeman, honest to earth, your skill is budding fruity.

    1. I’m honoured, thanks!

  21. good story

  22. Beautiful read. Was the love aspect of the story based on a true story, like his love for football, 50 cent, comedy.. where this all real life qualities about him. I am more interested in the background of Cindy, did he ever really like a girl called Cindy?

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