I was only seven years old. The cleats of my green soccer shoes clapped against the dark concrete as I slipped out of the house past the red door. I yanked the silver handle of the automatic sliding door and hopped into the car with my sister following behind. Mum carefully placed a foldable umbrella on the passenger seat and got ready to zoom to our weekly Saturday soccer game. On our way to the school, the clouds were all packed together threatening to cancel our soccer game by darkening until they looked like a burnt marshmallow.
“Do you think we’ll be able to play today?” I asked as a small drizzle appeared outside the tinted window.
“It depends if its starts pouring rain before the game.” replied mum taking her usual glance out the window.
After the first half, we were all exhausted and all dreamt of a nice nap before eating lunch. I guess the first half had been okay, (even though I can’t remember the score) and the weather was fine. Until the second half...
My teeth were clattering exceptionally quickly. Lightning flashed as hail pounded on my shivering head with the rumble following half a second later. I felt the ground move as if it were also cold, shivering and covered with the bone chilling icy feeling. Never had I suffered this much from the cold during a soccer game. The sky was rumbling tremendously and hail was plummeting on our heads as if the sky was shattering into pieces and letting go of everything it was transporting.
A whistle burst into my eardrums screaming at me to get back onto the pitch and switch with someone to make them a substitute. I left the tree that was supposed to cover me from the falling ice and lazily walked onto the drenched soccer field. It felt like my skin had disappeared and the frosty water entered my bloodstream numbing every muscle. Goosebumps skittled across my body as I shivered once more.
I have to admit that I just stood helplessly as the opposing team dribbled the ball into our goal a couple of times.
“Tackle him! Tackle him!” the coach growled at me when a thin boy ran with mud springing up behind his boots as he dangerously approached the goal. He dashed by me as I lazily approached but paid no attention, not even a glance to see who was trudging towards him to grab possession of the ball. The blue ball skimmed on the soaked grass only just touching the tiny petals of small daisies that sprung up above the lawn. His ankle rotated, positioning the ball straight in front of his red shoe. He tragically tightened his skinny leg and catastrophically smashed the inflated sphere sending it twirling into the net of our goal like a caged animal slamming against the side of its box trying to break out.
How could the other players run around to get the muddy ball in this weather?
I just stood there glaring at my mum with my jaw hanging in disbelief that she was just watching me suffer from the coldness waiting for time to pass by. I could see that she too was haunted with the New Zealand chill and was struggling with the small umbrella as it flipped and waved in the wind. Meanwhile, the other parents, were enveloped in big, heavy, thick coats watching while our skinny legs crossed each other endlessly. It was obvious that they didn’t mind just watching us struggling in the rain.
Our soaked soccer uniform; small, thin black shorts and an orange dri-fit t-shirt felt like it was falling apart.
The sky rumbled once more screaming at me to get inside- in the warmth.
My thoughts drifted off as I dreamt of being in my bed with the woodfires’ heat, my thick, long, pyjamas and my bulky impenetrable duvet wrapped around me. But I instantly came back into the real world when the high-pitched whistle bounced in my ears three final times signaling the end of the match.
I instantly grabbed my waterbottle, joined my sister and sprinted to my parents ready to heave myself into the car and rush back home. At least in the car, we were protected by the powerful heater and safe from the cold. Fortunately, our house was close to the school. I can still easily remember the way back home; down a steep hill with brick houses on either side, turn left, up an intersection, go up another hill and there was our house on the left up a tiny concrete ramp.
As soon as I entered the house, I rushed up the dark-blue carpeted stairs, got undressed and joined my sister in the warm bath that awaited me. My knuckles stung as the cold had cut through them. The water seemed to boil before my eyes with steam evaporating from it.
In spite of the dreadful day, the sight of our spacious house and my family relaxed me and right there, I felt amazing. I had had a tiring morning with ice pounding on my head and thunder exploding only a few hundred metres from me. But no matter how exhausting the morning was, I was happy to be there. With my family. In our cozy house. In New Plymouth, in New Zealand, and in the world.
So I lay back in the heat, rewarded in the bubbles ready to create new “Soap Potions*” with my twin.
* “Soap potions” were when my sister and I mixed different types of soap and often added water until we had the ultimate compilation; a delicious smell, head to toe and not too liquidy.