It was during the summer Olympics that I fell in love with archery. The American representative at the game was so beautiful, graceful and good at using her bow and arrow so much I that wished to be like her when I was older.
I watched her win the gold medal with so many points ahead of her closest rival, a Japanese athlete. It was that evening that I decided I would own a bow too and learn how to shoot like her. The only problem was I had no idea where to get a bow and arrow or the money to purchase them.
After the presentation of the medals, I rushed to my She was at the back by herself, relaxing on an armchair.
I was certain by the way she was sitting that she was thinking about my dad. Whenever she sits here looking melancholy, I could tell she was thinking about my dad. I miss him too. It’s been eight months now since he last came home.
My Dad was in the army, and he had been drafted to go to Iraq to defend humanity. At least that was what they say it was all about.
Everybody hated the war in Iraq. Everybody hated the fact that it took our beloved people away, put them in harm’s way.
My dad used to call regularly, or should I say whenever he could, before now. These days, the calls are not coming again. Maybe that was the reason my mum usually looked gloomy and stared off into the distance lately.
I rushed out to her through the kitchen to the back door screaming repeatedly,
“Mom! Mom! Mom! We just won another gold medal in the Olympics.”
She seemed not to hear me at first as I rushed out to her. I got to her side and rocked her gently.
“Mom, we just won another gold medal in the Olympics,” I repeated.
“Oh? Really, baby, that’s so remarkable.” Even though she was trying to be excited for me, I could see that she was forcing herself to. Her mind was nowhere close…
“Mom, are you okay? What’s wrong?”
“Oh, nothing baby… I’m perfectly fine.” She forced herself to smile.
“Do you miss daddy, mom? I miss him too.”
“Oh, darling… I do miss your father very much. But I’m sure he will be home soon.”
But she wasn’t sure. I knew she only said that to make me feel better. To make both of us feel better.
“Did you say we won another gold medal?” She asked as she pulled me to her and made me sit on her lap, tracing her hand through my hair.
My excitement returned when she asked that. “Yes mum, in the archery competition. She’s so good with her bow and beautiful.”
“That makes it six gold medals in all, right?” She knew because we had both been following the Olympics together before now.
“Yes… Mummy, I can I have my own bow and arrow?” I asked
“But what do you want to do with that?”
“I want to be an archer too, go to the Olympics and win gold medals too. I want to be as beautiful as that lady on the screen, and make you proud ma.”
She pulled me to herself and hugged me tightly. “I’m always proud of you my baby. Maybe I will get you a bow soon baby, but we can’t afford it now.”
I understood why she could not afford it. We can barely afford the house we lived in, the car and feeding. We hardly get anything unless it was necessary. Dad’s absence was felt in every part of our living, and his not calling in a while now made it worse for us.
The next day at school was Monday. My friend Shirley asked me if I saw the Lady who won the Olympics gold medal with her bow and arrow.
Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who was interested in the sports. Shirley seemed to be intrigued by the woman’s ability with the bow and her elegance too, just like myself. We decided that we would be going to the sports complex to learn bow shooting after school was over.
After school, I rushed home to tell my mum what Shirley and I had decided to do. She didn’t object; instead, she asked how I would be practicing without my own bow and arrow. I told her they would have one at the complex we are going to learn and lend us to practice with.
I must say Shirley, and I had never been that much of close friends till we found out that we did not only wanted to be like that lady in the Olympics but we both had a passion for the archery game. Her father was also in Iraq where he worked as a war photographer. So we continued to find out how much we have in common as the day goes by.
We visited the training complex together, and we were impressed with the way we were received. We even started practicing that very day. “Target archery is the most popular kind of archery,” our tutor said as we began.
One evening, I was tired and feeling all itchy after practice. The practices were getting more intense by this time. I got home and just wanted to eat, shower and go sleep. At least that was what I had in mind. She must have seen me coming through the window, or she had been waiting a long time for me. My mother ran out of the house and met me at the porch. She carried me with a warm hug and screamed to my ears.
“Your dad just called, he’s coming home.”
I couldn’t believe my ears. I tried to break free of her hug. “Is he still on the phone?” was all I could say.
It was a few days to Christmas. I waited and longed for him to return quickly.
When finally he came, I almost didn’t recognize him.
He presented me a wrapped gift in which I found a bow and lots of arrow for practice. He promised to help me practice. I didn’t even ask him how he knew that I wanted a bow and an arrow.