We were hiding, okay. We made it look like nothing was happening. Life continued its course with Messi happily settled in Paris and us coming and going from the same refrigerator, from the same kitchen, repeating set phrases such as that the club is above any player and all those things that one says being able to shut up, it which is never a bad option. Who were we trying to kid? To the world in general? To ourselves? The new tenant at number ten, perhaps? There is a certain nobility in avoiding jealousy and frustrations to the decreed heir, but not much either: a lie is a lie and Messi is missed by the Catalans like a strange widow the smell of tobacco in the sadly perfumed rooms of the house.
It was enough to see him collect his seventh Ballon d’Or, the first away from home, for the castle of indifference raised on the run after his departure collapsed like Hugh Grant against Julia Roberts in Notting Hill, you know: that of “I’m just a girl, in front of a boy, asking him to love her ”. How hard to see my father, the inducer of almost all my beliefs, lowering his head so as not to hurt himself, so as not to hurt me, like those old men who open a hand of dominoes badly to give some chance to the rival, who is also a friend. “And are you saying that he wanted to go, that they didn’t kick him out?” He asks without looking at me, as if he was ashamed of the answer that he sensed long before verbalizing the doubt. “Yes Dad. He wanted to go to a team with aspirations to win the Champions League ”, he answered. And then he gets up, leaves the room, mutters alone, in the distance, and comes back after a while with an orange in his hand because, from a certain age -or I think I understand-, everything cools down going to the kitchen and returning to the crime scene with an orange.
How unnatural is everything from goodbye. It does not matter whether it was forced or forced. A father can be lied out of compassion, especially when his arteries are full of joints and some borrowed valve, but one must always proceed with the utmost care: one day you assure him that not much more could be done to retain Messi and the next you are perpetrating a massacre out of shame, for not knowing how to step back at the right time, a bit like Jean-Claude Romand, the protagonist of The adversary.
“Now what?” Anyone with a modicum of heart will ask. Well now nothing, just the certainty that you have already lived your best years as a fan and you still have a world ahead of you, if nothing is twisted excessively. Of course there are worse things in life than discovering Messi raising the last individual award that we can all consider, but I don’t know what they are, I don’t even imagine them.
The only thing I can see, with the gala about to end, is my father peeling an orange like someone who makes up a deceased person. And also the idol flooding the screen with the same indecipherable gesture popularized by Lola Flores when, in the middle of a performance, she lost one of her earrings and said that “you are going to give it back to me because my little job cost me”. It was ours and it no longer belongs to anyone, after all.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.