“They say time waits for no one and time has a wonderful way of showing us what really matters in life. Dikeh my childhood boyfriend and best friend didn’t tell me he had a great passion for football, I saw he did and was in full support amongst everyone else. He didn’t know how to go about it, but I had some great ideas, all we needed to do was ask questions meet people who know one or two things about football. ‘The Super Eagles’ are a popular topic that bond boys, fathers and sons in my community together.
My uncle happened to have a friend who is a football coach for a very successful team. As brave as I can be, I walked to my uncle, a 6ft.5 heavy no-nonsense man and convinced him to meet Dikeh, the natural football fanatic. After seeing potential in the young blood, introduce him to his friend ‘The Coach’. Coach took an instant like to Dikeh right away after hearing him ramble in action about his favourite players and invited him for a game In Owerri, our capital city.
After a year, things started picking up. Dikeh went to Lagos to play his first major game. With this being huge for him was also a big deal for me. Football and getting him to play was all that mattered to us.
Apart from being Dikeh’s supportive girlfriend, I was also his assistant. I made sure he got the rest, the sleep the food he needed to build the physics of a footballer. I organised and managed his time and made sure he got the training he needed because practice makes perfect. His friends always joked that I was bossy, but we all know the truth. Dikeh wasn’t only good, he got better and great within a short period of time.
I noticed this very early because every old team he played for thought he improved tremendously compared to a previous game and every new team he played for thought he was incredible and fascinating for his age. They admired not only his great stamina but also his incredible speed and moves. I see and hear all these because I was always by his side.
My usual outfit is a pair of jeans, football t-shirt, low haircut, and no makeup on, thanks to my natural smooth face. That is just me or may I say I’m basically not the glamour type. I had better things to do and had no interest in being too feminine. This also explains why I got along with the boys.
I like to be present during Dikeh’s occasional meeting with the team and the managers discussing football career and future. Unlike Dikeh, I’m very vocal and often voice my honest opinion. Telling them what’s best for the team and mostly Dikeh, What he is good at and how he could improve. Often times, they always give me a look, that screams look; ‘who are you again?’ kinda look.
Many a time, the team manager that listened to me always got the best of Dikeh.
Things moved fast, I lost loving people beside me, mostly the girlfriends that I should have had. The ones I could have to compete with on how to shape my eyebrows, how to apply mascara and lipsticks, even how to walk, look and act like a lady. Well, I take all the blame, I just wasn’t that girl. I paid less attention to my academic work and followed Dikeh to most games. I barely managed to pass my ‘A’ Levels, but then again I didn’t care as I had no further plans.
He played his first major game for the ‘Nigeria Super Eagles’ at the age of 19. It was a mistake, the perfect one indeed. He was suggested after one of the professional players got injured while training few days before the big game. The football coach was forced to pick a junior player to make up his numbers and just like a lottery, my Dikeh was selected.
I felt very proud watching him play on that fateful day, I was soaked through with emotions. With his interesting professional moves and tactics, he scored 3 amazing goals for the team. His team won the match, the team’s first against a foreign team in 10 years. That evening, they Celebrated Dikeh, lifting him up and off the field all the way to a bar to celebrate. That was our greatest and memorable night too. That night, we made love like never before, Dikeh gave me his all and so did I.
Just like a moving fast car, Dikeh never stopped progressing. We found ourselves in Europe, England precisely, Dikeh had been invited by one of the greatest football clubs in the world. Arsenal it was. After some few years, they loaned him from Super Eagles and then finally paid for him.
It took me a while to realise Dikeh started needing less of me. During the time of his transition, he will tell me to look at schools, go shopping at the amazing Harrods or the ever-buzzing Oxford Street. ‘Spend the day at Selfridges and choose whatever you want’. He also encouraged me to make some friends of my own.
“You’re not my manager remember”
He said ones. Before I could gather the courage to interrupt him he said the magic words. “You’re my girl”.
I also had to up my game too. I decided not to only groom but make myself look better for Dikeh. I noticed his new football friends chased around different beautiful women. Not just any women, the Kim Kardashian and Gidi Hadid kinds with wicked curves in the right places. Heart shaped or square jaw faces, pointy perfect nose, hydrated and sweet plum lips, did I mention good shiny and reach natural hair?
For some reason, I wasn’t worried. Dikeh and I have come a long way and are made for each other and that’s just about it. Also, I was hundred and ten percent convinced I’m his type, of course, he sang it like a sweet melody to me at times.
Regardless, I decided to do better mostly during luxury dinner events and presentations. I decided to take care of myself. I started by wearing more dresses, fixing long dark Asian or Brazilian hair weaves to cover my thick black and short afro. I bought lipsticks, foundations, mascara and all that makes a modern woman look beautiful. I even fixed some artificial nails on my short nails. I felt so much less of me. But I was doing it for a reason, that is all that matters. I wouldn’t have minded going under the knife if that was what it took, maybe get my small 31b breasts a little bigger, my waist a little thinner just for him, but he never hinted.
My world came crashing the day Dikeh looked me in the eyes and told me how he really feels. It was during one of our casual shopping experiences, now that his football contract had been signed. I still remember this day as if it was a few minutes ago. We were having lunch at the ever glorious Harrods when he decided to cut the ribbon.
“We can’t carry on any further Isabella”. He announced calmly.
“What? What do you mean?
I questioned laughing thinking it was a joke.
“ I mean, I’m an international star now and want to be seen as one, don’t take it personally, I think it’s time we both find our ways, I know we’ve come a long way. We are just not good for each other, this is what people are saying, I mean’. His lips curved into a sarcastic smile. My eyes glued to him, my brain refused to function.
There was a brief silence.
“But because I have so much respect for you, I decided to tell you this in person, you are free to do whatever you want with your life. Live your life babes, you deserve it!”.
“Make the world your oyster and go and chase your passion, make more friends and do things for you. Not that I asked for it, but you’ve done enough for me”.
He looked more serious and collected finishing those few words. I can tell he had worked on these words and really wanted to get it off his chest. Such a courageous move. It must have taken Dikeh some few weeks or months perhaps to prepare for this. I noticed the relief on his face after dumping the rubbish he called ‘words’ on me. I will give him that, I never saw it coming.
I couldn’t speak after that, not even a few days later, I cried most of the days, just like the girl I’m. Dikeh indeed took me by surprise. Nothing I could have said, not even the tears in my eyes made him ardent. I knew he had already made up his mind. No point lingering or crying and hoping to be accepted. However, I thought I could manage, I thought wrong. My life became a big pool of mess, a broken vase that I had no idea where or when to start mending because I had no plans. Dikeh was the future I invested in.
I began to pick myself up by moving back to Nigeria. Family helped me physically, but my nights were cold and haunted. I was once very strong, not anymore.
Time was the only real thing I knew moving constantly.
My 27th Birthday was like a horror movie and a wake-up call too. I was only 17 a few years ago. Where did the time go?
I got a nine to five job working as a cashier in a bank, But God knows it was my ghost who was going to the job. As if my life couldn’t get worst, opening the newspaper was Dikeh making his fans proud, winning matches and often with a different girl in his arms when photographed in London big boys clubs.
When I hear people on the streets talking about football, Dikeh is one of the most mentioned amazing and loved footballer who also played for his home country.
No one cared about what he did, how he managed to rise or what sort of raw bleeding red heart he stepped on to get to where he is today. But then again does it really matter?
I, died and woke up again when the news broke that he was expecting his first child with a beautiful British blond top model. It was all over the news, the blogs, the vlogs the glossy magazines. OK! even did a special on them.
This was the final straw, the love of my life was gone, gone with the wind and forever so. He is an international star, a celebrity and very much loved.
Isn’t 30 years of age about time I pick myself up and try to make some amends? The scare is still so fresh in my heart and will probably stay that way. But moving on will be the best thing to do. Time wasted if I’ve learned can never be regained after all.
Written by: Obie Edmond
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