It was game day. Championships…no pressure. We were playing against the St. Catharine’s JETS. This has been the team to watch for years now and this year they were defending their title. I had every intention of taking it from them. There was just one slight issue with this game, Tobi wasn’t there. He didn’t really give me a reason why, just that something came up. To be honest, I was upset with him. He hadn’t missed a single game all year and I was about to play the most important game of the season and he wasn’t there. It hurt a little.
The game was a home game so it wasn’t far at all. I was one of the first players there so I started gearing up. I kept checking my phone to see if Tobi had texted me but every time I checked there was nothing.
I had just finished lacing up my cleats when Brooke came up behind me. “HEY!” she yelled. I jumped a little and she laughed. I laughed too as I said hi. “Okay so where is this guy? You said he comes to every game and I have some things to say to him.” She scanned the crowd clearly looking for Tobi.
“Why do I not see him?” she asked after looking from one end of the field to the other.
I was actually relieved that Tobi wasn’t there, otherwise he would know some things that I don’t want him knowing right now. “Yeah about that…he’s not here. Don’t ask me why because I have no idea. He wouldn’t tell me.” I could tell that Brooke did not believe a word I had said because she looked at me like I was stupid.
“What did you do? Tell him not to come? Because I will find a way to talk to this boy.”
“I didn’t say a word to him. I asked him what time he was picking me up and he said he wasn’t because he wasn’t coming. I haven’t heard a word from him since.”
“Well in my opinion that is rude. Let me know what his excuse was when he gets back to you.”
It was a half an hour before game time and only two other girls had shown up. The entire other team was warming up and our coaches weren’t even at the field yet. So those of us who were there just sat there and stretched what we could. The girls were trying to talk to me but all I could think about was why Tobi didn’t show. Was he okay? Did I do something to upset him? I had to get this off my mind because if I didn’t I knew I would play like shit and we would loose for sure.
It was now twenty minutes before game time and no one else had shown up. Apparently even the fans weren’t sure if this was the right field.
“Excuse me! Is this where the Grimsby team plays tonight?” Two guys that looked around our age yelled as they came across the field. Brooke was the first one to speak up.
“Well we are on the team but are now wondering…”
“TOBI!!!” I didn’t even let her finish, I just took off running in his direction and jumped into his arms with the force of a truck. We both toppled over on the field. I gave him the biggest hug ever and he squeezed me back just as hard. Being in his arms just felt so right.
I was half yelling and half smiling as I pulled myself away from him. “Why the hell did you tell me you weren’t coming if you’re here?’
“I’m sorry. I honestly was not expecting to be here.”
“Why not? What’s going on?”
“Don’t worry about it right now. It will throw you off your game.”
“No Tobi. Me knowing that something is wrong and not knowing what it is will throw me off my game because that will be all I think about during the game.” He hesitated. “Tobi please, don’t leave me hanging like this.”
“Okay fine. My dad was having chest pains and is in the hospital.”
“Well then what the hell are you doing here!?”
“My dad knew tonight was the championships and I wouldn’t leave his room so he had the nurses called and asked them to escort us out so we had no choice but to come to your game.”
“So you got kicked out of a hospital…good one genius.”
It was only then when I noticed that my coach and quite a few more girls from my team had shown up.
“I should probably get back to the team.”
“And I should go find a seat so I can watch you kick ass.”
He gave me a “good luck” hug like he always does but it was what he did next that took me by surprise. He kissed me on the cheek. Tobi has never done anything remotely similar in all the years I’ve known him.
He pulled away with a wild look in his eyes.
“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have done that.”
“No it’s okay. Just some extra luck right?”
He loosened up a little and let out a laugh.
Tobi went to go find a seat on the sidelines and I headed back to the bench.
What on earth was that? Heat of the moment? Stress because of his dads condition? Or was he trying to tell me something? But if that was the case, then why did he say he shouldn’t have done it? If Tobi’s goal was to give me mixed signals, then he gets a gold star.
“Okay, I thought you and him were just friends,” Brooke said as I neared the bench. I didn’t say anything in response. Mainly because I didn’t know what to say.
“Hello? You there?” I just kind of looked at her.
“What’s wrong?” She began to look concerned.
“Nothing. I’m fine. Can we go warm up?”
“Uh yeah, sure, come on then.”