“Well if it isn’t the dog I have to share my room with,” Khaya says, pushing his headphones down around his neck.
He’s lying on his bed on one side of the room that we’re sharing.
I take a deep breath as I drop my bag onto the floor.
“Khaya, we’ve got to talk.”
“Talk? Sure let’s talk about what a terrible soccer player you are,” Khaya retorts with a snigger.
I sit down on my bed and look across at Khaya.
“I don’t know why you don’t like me, but I think you’re a great player and think we could learn a lot from each other.”
“What could I possibly learn from you?” Khaya scowls.
My temper flares and I struggle to keep control of it. But I know Henry is right – my place on the team is at stake if I can’t get Khaya to listen to reason.
“I think you’re a fantastic player Khaya, you’re strong, you’re quick and you’ve got an awesome right foot, but your rhythm is slightly off.”
Khaya scowls again, but he sits up and looks at me.
“What do you mean?”
“When you come in for a shot, you’re slightly off balance. It makes your shots less accurate.”
Before Khaya can say anything I continue.
“What about me? What could I do better?”
Khaya rubs his chin as he thinks.
“You don’t have enough explosive power in your legs,” Khaya says. “You’re technically good, but you should do more sprints to build that power.”
“You see? I never would have known that. So do you think we can forget our personal differences on the field and play together despite them? Otherwise we’re both going to get kicked off the team.”
Khaya thinks for a long time and then eventually nods. We shake hands.
“This doesn’t mean I like you,” Khaya says.
“I can’t have everything.”
It’s only when Khaya begins snoring that I finally feel ready to look at the letter. I take a deep breath and then open it…
I’m sorry that I haven’t had the chance to get to know you. I’ve asked the deliverer of this note to look after you. I’ve never had the opportunity to introduce you personally, but I want you to think of him as family. He’s a good man and my best friend. Your mother is an amazing woman and I know she will continue to raise you well. But I have asked him to be your godfather so that if ever you need some fatherly help there will be someone there for you.
With great affection,
Ps. I have left you a treasure, something very valuable that I hope that you will appreciate and use to your benefit.