SO it’s you Staka. Man, you scared me!’
VeShadd had gently turned his head around to see who interrupted his thoughts and it was Staka his teammate and buddy.
Staka was just returning to his hotel room from the team’s football training early that morning.
The athletic midfielder walked in sprints towards VeShadd and repeated the words he’d interrupted his friend’s thoughts with.
‘What are you confessing?’ he said a second time.
VeShadd sat himself down in an armchair.
He glanced at Staka. ‘I guess I should tell you anyway. Take a shower first – you reek of sweat. Go freshen up first and I’ll tell you what’s bothering me.’
Staka nodded. ‘Okay; I’ll be back in a moment.’
The young midfielder grabbed a towel and went into the bathroom in the elegant hotel suite.
When he was through with taking a shower, Staka walked back to the room and dressed up in a T-shirt over a pair of baggy shorts.
He walked to VeShadd’s side and sat beside him in a couch as he listened to his friend.
Like a cup of water is emptied through a dry and thirsty throat, VeShadd poured out his situation and worries to Staka.
But then, as much as VeShadd’s attentive listener wished to help him to right his wrongs, the young man wasn’t ready to sacrifice VeShadd’s participation in the World Cup for this.
Participating in the World Cup used to be one of Staka’s big dreams.
And when he played on the world’s football pitches and heard the spectators’ cheer, he grew even more ambitious and wanted to cart home the most dignified trophy in the world of sports.
The World Cup itself.
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Staka had seen what VeShadd was capable of on the pitch.
Even as an excellent midfielder with an added striker skill, Staka had come to admit that VeShadd was even more dependable than every other player in the team.
Tai VeShadd the team’s spectacular goalkeeper was their sure ticket to winning the World Cup.
And by every means possible, Staka had got to hold on to that ticket.
Staka knew what he wanted. And so he decided to be very honest with his friend.
He heaved a burdened sigh.
‘How do you want me to respond to this bombshell?’ he said.
‘I really wish you didn’t share this sort of burden with me. I really wish I wasn’t nosy enough to get myself in this.
‘You know I want to win the World Cup. I really want to win the World Cup! That’s all I have in my head now. I’ve fixed my eyes on that gold trophy.
‘But I’m a Christian, too; and I know what is right. I’m just not sure I can sacrifice the World Cup for anything at the moment.
‘I can only be a colleague and teammate for you at the moment.’
VeShadd let out a quiet sigh.
Staka went on in a moment. ‘Vee, as a Christian myself, I understand the essence of confession and repentance.
‘But then, you coming out to confess your sin now will do you and even us more harm than good.
‘The only thing you stand to gain is to free your mind and heart from guilt. Your confession doesn’t bring the girl back from coma, does it?
‘And it doesn’t even undo the crime you’ve already committed. It’ll only end up ruining your entire career, Vee!’
Staka sat up. ‘Besides, you’ve got nothing to worry about,’ he continued. ‘You said the World Union is handling everything for you.
‘So let’s just focus on the games for now. Let’s win this trophy first. We can then handle everything that is to come afterwards, huh?’
Staka patted VeShadd on a shoulder as he finished his words. ‘Please, just think of winning the World Cup for now.’
VeShadd knew his buddy too well.
He knew Staka – as concerned about him as he sounded – he was only preoccupied with a personal ambition to hit a golden record.
A record that he was part of a team of football players that were the first Africans ever to win the great World Cup.
He coveted being a legend at twenty. He wanted so dearly to be talked about as being part of a legacy.
Staka stood up. He wasn’t waiting for an answer from his friend. He didn’t want a debate on what he’d said. He wanted to close the issue on the note he ended it.
Staka walked to the doorway. ‘Let’s go for our breakfast, Vee,’ he said.
VeShadd heaved a deep sigh and was quiet.
Silence was the best response he could give his friend at the moment. A noisy silence accompanied with a faint smile was all he could offer.
And in the young man’s silence a loud thought ran through his heavy heart.
‘We can’t find God in a human being,’ he said to himself. ‘Staka is a human too, after all,’ he admitted.
And that thought was loud enough that it stuck to his mind…
Never ever to be forgotten.
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