MATTHEW is a big fan of Cristiano Ronaldo. He dreams of being a soccer star one day, just like his soccer hero. Since February, when his father bought him a brand new ball for his birthday, he has been totally bitten by the soccer bug. He and his Adidas Tango Sala ball are inseparable.
As soon as school is over each day, he would rush home to find his Tango, who would even accompany him for lunch at a kopitiam downstairs. The idea is that after lunch, he could practice his dribble, a header or two, and even some thigh kicks. After all, there’s a walking pathway running parallel to the canal not far from the kopitiam. It’s the perfect spot for a budding soccer star to put in some serious practice.
Yesterday, however, Matthew got a bit silly. From simple dribbling, he progressed to some aggressive strikes. He got so carried away that Tango suddenly flew right into the canal.
“Oh no!” he cried.
He ran towards the canal, watched Tango bobbing about in the water, drifting away from him. He had two choices: make a dive for it or or say, “So long, Tango! I’m sorry, Tango!” The first, of course, would have been a foolish and dangerous venture by all accounts, but Matthew had lost all common sense and feared no danger. Tango, after all, was his everything.
He climbed over the railing, took a deep breath, closed his eyes and just went for it.
He saw a blur of brown and suddenly felt three times heavier. His uniform was completely sodden, and his shoes! Why did they feel like lead weights dragging him down? And was there a current of sorts sweeping him downstream? He wasn’t kicking or paddling but some invisible force was pushing him forward in the direction of Tango. This was not like a swimming pool at all. It felt like a monster water tank about to gobble him up.
“Mommy!” he screamed and gurgled.
“Daddy!” he choked, his arms flailing about and slapping stupidly at the waters, as he struggled to kick off his shoes.
For a split second, regret said hello, but that was quickly devoured by a terrible fear that he would drown. Thank goodness, no raging brown waters was going to eat him up. A passerby by the name of Phua Boon Kee, a 47-year-old uncle living in the same block as Matthew, rescued him. He even saved Tango.
Edith Lee, Primary Four
For more essays by Edith, visit Edith Writes.
This essay was written in response to four boxed pictures:
- a boy is playing ball by the canal and inadvertently kicks it into the waters
- he dives into the canal to retrieve it
- he’s flailing helplessly
- a man, perhaps a woman (the artist chose to be artistically ambiguous) dives in to rescue him