A Story by L.A.

            I used to think that only Mexicans were good at soccer.

            But then I met Brandon.


            He could kick a ball from anywhere to anyplace within a matter of seconds. When he shot for the goal, the goalies would be pulled aside by an unknown magnetic force and the ball would always find its way in, no matter what. All the Hispanic kids on our block worshipped the very ground he walked on, as if the blades of grass turned into gold from the mere friction of his cleats. There was an unspoken agreement between everyone in our gym class that whenever we played soccer, he would be captain. And, of course, we all wanted to be on his team. Because he was the best.

            I wasn’t too bad at the sport myself--in fact, if there were such a thing as second best, I would be it. Brandon and I discovered this the very afternoon we met.

            It had been a boring day--the sun was shining and the sky was clear, but I couldn’t go outside. I sat in my usual spot upstairs in the attic, in a corner-crook where the rays of sunshine filtered in and sparkled on the dust that collected. Around me laid objects that held little interest to my ten-year-old mind. I had never been the type to play with dolls or dress-up--the outdoors or a good book was my sanctuary.

            I sat on my stomach and rested my chin in my hands, sighing at the sight of such a beautiful day. I basked in the sun and felt it soak through my baggy t-shirt and cut-off shorts.

            Unfortunately, the brightness didn’t reflect my mood. Mom had gone to run errands and specifically told me to stay inside, her only reason for doing so being “Because I told you so.” I had grown to hate those very words with a passion--answers were something I’d always needed. If I couldn’t know everything, then who could?

            A strange sight soon greeted my bored eyes--a boy.

            Of course, there were boys on my block, but this one was different. He was white. I had nothing against the foreign kids in my neighborhood, but to see another Caucasian was very rare, and I decided to take a liking to him right away. My fondness grew even more when I spotted a tattered old soccer ball resting in his hands.

            I sat up and pressed my palms against the window, staring in awe--and a bit of envy--as this new boy began to bounce the ball from one of his knees to the other. I had tried to perform this trick but always failed.

            Maybe he can teach me, I thought, continuing to gaze out at him.

            And just like that, my mother’s instructions had quickly slipped my mind. Within a matter of minutes, I had slipped on my shoes and was out the door.

            “Who’re you?” was the first thing I said upon greeting him.

            “I’m Brandon.” He kicked the ball up once more, enveloped in pure concentration.

            “I’m Roni,” I said, and he didn’t pay me much mind, continuing to do more tricks. “Are you good at soccer?”

            That was when he stopped, and turned to look at me for the first time. His brown eyes sparkled and he said, “Sorta.”

            The next thing I knew, we were at the field in Hopkins Park and deeply immersed in an intense game of soccer. I soon learned that Brandon was more than sorta good at soccer--he was excellent. I found myself struggling to keep up with his skills as the afternoon wore on.

            The sun set and we decided to call it a tie until we could continue the next day.

            But the game never really ended. Throughout the whole summer, we played match after match until late-August came around and it was time for school to begin. Even then we never announced a winner; instead choosing to determine this when it would be May again.


            The years wore on and we both changed. Brandon soon became popular and began to go through girlfriends like I went through pairs of shoes. The girls in our classes whispered about him with admiration and he never hesitated before jumping into relationships.

            I always stayed his best friend, of course. Nothing ever really changed between us, but something did change in me. I knew all those other girls would never be able to see how his copper eyes always sparkled or the grace in which he could handle a soccer ball. They didn’t know what he looked like when he was covered in dirt and had flecks of grass in his mop of brown hair. They hadn’t been there, playing game after game with him and sweltering in the blistering July heat.

            I knew I was the only girl who could ever understand Brandon, but both he and I also knew that a relationship was not an option. There was an unspoken understanding that we were only meant to be friends, and nothing more. Besides, he hadn’t ever liked me in that sort of way.


            Senior Year ended and we parted our separate ways to college. He went off to a university on the East Coast while I stayed home and attended NIU. We kept in touch regularly, Skyping and sending the occasional letter or two. I was sitting in my attic crook one day when he showed up at my doorstep.

            “I’m getting married, Roni,” he told me. His eyes shone like always, but there was a hint of sadness to them that even I couldn’t decipher.

            I swallowed and forced a smile. “Congratulations.”

            He sent me pictures of his wife and kids, and wrote all about them. There was so much love and care put into his letters that I felt as if I actually lived in the house with him and his family. His little boy, James, hadn’t fallen far from the tree and was turning out to be quite the soccer star. As I stared at the photo of his three-year-old self, I detected something that no camera lens could ever capture--a glimmer in his hazel eyes.


            I received a letter a few months later that was different from all the others. It had Brandon’s address and a stamp from Massachusetts, but the handwriting wasn’t his. It was more girly and at once, I knew it had to have been his wife’s.


            Brandon was dead.

            The circumstances weren’t mentioned, but both he and I knew what had happened. A bullet to the temple would’ve been the quickest route.

            Along with his wife’s letter was a note from him that she thought she should give to me. She said it would probably be best that I read it before anyone else.


            I laid in the field at Hopkins Park, bathing in the sun and staring at Brandon’s letters lying next to me. I reflected over all the summers we had spent on this very grass, and after what seemed like forever, had the courage to open his last note.



            I love you.

© 2013 L.A.

Author's Note

Okay, so first off, let me say that this is definitely NOT a true story. Also, the two characters ARE names of people that I know in real life (and their descriptions are accurate), but their personalities in this story are VERY different.

This was inspired a few days ago, when I was with the narrator of this story (and also my best friend), Veronica. We had just finished playing at my old elementary school park, and were walking down the block toward my house. She talked about when she was friends with Brandon, and joked, "I used to think that only Mexicans were good at soccer. But then I met Brandon."

Then, inspiration struck, and my imagination did the rest. ;)

So, Veronica, this is obviously dedicated to you. <3 Hope you enjoyed.

Sorry if it seems a bit rushed.

My Review

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Posted 11 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Laura, I love you.

Posted 11 Years Ago

Good story. Grammar is 95% of the way there. Remember the SUBJUNCTIVE case, and lay is the past tense of lie.

Posted 12 Years Ago

This is amazing!!!!

Posted 12 Years Ago

Interesting take on the idea. I didn't think it would go this direction, the ending was sad. I love it though, thanks for writing it:) and despite the sad ending, I

Posted 12 Years Ago

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5 Reviews
Shelved in 2 Libraries
Added on May 12, 2012
Last Updated on May 19, 2013
Tags: brandon, story, veronica, roni, laura, ann




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