Page 37 - To Family with Love
P. 37

in five-a-side football and sang Croatian patriotic songs, as well as some other songs, although by then we were allowed to sing them, so it wasn’t exactly an act of rebellion. Truth be told, we would rarely get to finish a match because the sirens would often start howling like hungry wolves.
Arrangements around those matches would keep the whole school busy and in a frenzied state, and they were the only thing that we would talk about for days on end. We were living for those encounters and would prepare for them so meticulously that we would lose all interest in tests and grading, unlike our teachers, who would always give it their full attention, to the point that they even decided to write a note to my old man on the battlefield.
We were split into two teams. My team consisted of all the kids whose parents had gone to war, while the other team includ- ed everyone else. Our team barely had enough players because the parents didn’t go to war according to the criterion of whose child would make which team, so there were soldiers who left a daughter behind instead of a son, and girls can’t bring you a guarantee of success in football, even if it’s just five-a-side foot- ball. There were also parents who didn’t go anywhere, let alone to war, so our left-wing position went to little Cico from the third grade, who could barely speak, let alone play, and our goalkeeper was a stutterer, so I knew that things wouldn’t turn out great for us if we ever had to voice our concerns about the results. The other team, on the other hand, had three players for each position. The deal was that we would play until the sirens sounded the end. We set up the nets as in a real match, and even the girls came to cheer us on, so I jumped all around the goal like crazy in all directions, regardless of whether the ball was heading my way or not, but rather in line with Marina’s gaze. We lost the match by 12:4, but even though we lost, I won Marina’s attention to the ex- tent that she summoned enough courage to approach me and ask

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