Close Encounters

By Darren Smith

Sydney Airport – Round 1 Eve

It wasn’t meant to be like this. We were on a break. My heart had been broken. That was six months ago when I decided that I could no longer commit the necessary effort and dedication. I had turned my back.

As with many chance encounters in public places, our paths crossed and neither party could deviate from their natural course, without the other knowing it was a deliberate act of uncomfortable avoidance.

Suddenly I wanted answers. I wanted understanding. I wanted understanding of my hurt. I wanted understanding of me.

And there they were. Among of a sea of faces and frenzy: Schneider, Milne, Gilbert, Hayes, Dal Santo, Gram, Baker, King.

I wanted to look deep into their eyes. I wanted to look deep into their souls.

Schneider, how could you miss from the top of the square?

Milne, why did you try a ‘grubber’ from 40 metres out?

Dawson, how could you cough it up so meekly to Hawkins?

Why did we lose? How did we lose?

Most of all I wanted recognition. I wanted them to recognise my pain. I wanted them to ease my pain.

I hoped for Lenny to turn from his bow-legged swagger, glimpse the Saints key chains on my travel bag and in a microsecond…………………understand.

I wanted a wink, a smile, a determined yet knowing nod. A nod that said we understand. We have learned. We will redeem. We will win it. We will ease your pain.

And then they were gone.

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