It was five in the morning. The crisp winter chills of June were violent on bare-feet, which scampered over the tiled floor into a much warmer, carpeted room.
There sat the laptop: Sleek, chrome and glistening. I sat down, trying my best not to let the chair creek. Mother and father were still asleep; the brother was still out on a night in the town, the sister – wait, she’d moved out five years ago. So yeah, probably still with that oaf that only wears an Aussie-rules vest all day, even in July.
What did it matter? I had the laptop – that smooth, whispering sound of glitsy Japanese technology trying to convince you that thousands of dollars was aaaaaaall worth it. Promise.
On goes the laptop. The fan starts whirring and it all sounds a little too noisy. Just like when you’re trying to sneak out of the house in the middle of the night, and all the floorboards do is creak. Slowly, closing the door, it was time to get online. Time to feed, like the cyber-vampire I was.
My blood was football. My passion was rage, and my rage was flung far and wide – with vitriol and populist fervour, it was flung – in the direction of some football club who we shall not mention here. And every morning, in the early hours that even sparrows feared to stir, I sat there. Glued to the screen. Clicking every link on that green and white page, clicking every headline that mentioned anything. Anything about him.
His name was Samir.
We met on the ‘tube. I remember the day as clearly as I see acne-scarring in the dim light of the screen. I was on tribalfootball while surfing through CaughtOffside. I remember someone saying…something about the next Zizou. And there he was. Three hyperlinks later and I was staring at the man of my dreams.
It wasn’t all easy, you know. Our love affair was turgid, and knew many obstacles. A wizened old shrew who named himself after a watch flirted with him numerous times. In some ways, I knew that Samir and I could never be together for too long. Something inside me pleaded with that wizened old man to finally splash out on him. Samir deserved it. Only the best for my darling.
But no such money came. It would be remiss of me to say I knew all that took place between the two. Maybe it was an argument, or others’ interference. Maybe. All I know is that my impatience brewed inside of me like a bubbling bowl of hot lead – weighing down my heart, yet shooting my anger, my impatience, my heated impetuousness through the temple. All manner of words were expectorated in heated exchange. Capital letters were the order of the day, as I hammered out complaints and fatwas directed at that stupid little football club.
I paused, and caught my breath. My parents down the corridor had rustled in their sleep. Had they heard me? Had my furious clicking on every headline been piercing enough to awaken them? Had I lost myself in a rage of mouse-tantrums softened by the drumbeat of my heart?
I listened tentatively at the door, to hear for any shuffling of still-asleep feet coming to inspect the commotion.
Nothing. All was quiet.
Back to the screen. The inevitable was about to occur. The same thing that had been happening for weeks on end was now about to happen for – as it turned out – one final, pleasurable, climatic time.
‘Nasri Deal Imminent’. I clicked on that headline.
A new tab opened. I clicked on another. ‘Nasri yet to finalise deal, says agent’.
Another tab. I clicked on the next line! ‘Arsenal after £12 million Hleb replacement: Could be a great signing!’
And another, and another. Click Click Click! It was a mouse-frenzy, an IP-overload.
And there again, wafted Samir’s face. The devil in me knew it to be wrong, but the momentum was there. I had been ignited. My breath was short, my ego charged.
Just a few more seconds. I could hear waterfalls majestically crashing on rocks, I could hear birds singing, I could see heaven and Earth coming into one and forming a new, flowing splendour.
One more stroke, and a new…OH MOTHER OF MACKERAL…
…I was spent.
Finally. Samir had signed.