Fall seven times and stand up eight.
- Japanese Proverb
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Kelly walks into the classroom, greeting our classmates as she makes her way to her seat. I watch as she walks by his desk, and glances at him discreetly. Who could blame her?
I write down my thoughts to empty my too-muddled up mind before turning my gaze to him, glaring at the back of his head till he turns to talk to the guy next to him.
Colin Baxter. With his dark hair and mousy brown eyes, he’s nothing remarkable at first glance. But that is part of his Charm. Yep, with a capital ‘C’. The guy is a sorcerer, using his powers to influence the people around him.
Teachers, students, parents; everyone is drawn to him like a magnet. They all adore him and crave his approval. Well, everyone but me. I am immune to his magic and see through his house of lies. All I need is some tangible proof to expose him and get the dust out of everyone’s eyes.
I watch as three girls approach him with a Physics problem. They’re speaking loud enough for me to hear it, and I laugh at the sheer ridiculousness of it. It’s easy enough, and clearly an excuse to talk to him. As he explains it he looks up at one of them, and from the look on her face I can clearly picturize her heart stopping.
Our sorcerer is not only extremely charming, but skilled at soccer and academics, too. Oh, how much I hate him.
I am pulled out of my thoughts as the teacher enters. When no one can answer his tricky question, he calls on Colin. I study Mr. Sawyer’s face closely; it reflects amusement and affection as he lightly taunts him. Mr. Sawyer it not an easy person to please, and I hate that boy for using his powers to mould his mind.
I scribble these thoughts in my diary quickly to get them out of my mind as Mr. Sawyer continues the lesson.
After class, Colin walks up to me. Quickly putting my diary away, I look up at him in time to see him glance at it. “Hey Jade, could you show me question number 3? I seem to have missed it.”
He didn’t seem to realize I was onto him, and I wasn’t going to tell him. “Sure.”
When he handed it back to me, he smiled amiably. “Are you staying back after school today? For football practice?”
I grimaced internally. His skills made me feel bad about mine. “No, do you guys have practice?”
He nodded and grinned. I didn’t feel like continuing the conversation further, so I pretended I had to use the washroom.
The rest of the day passed in a blur. I was tired and aching from the previous days’ practice, and was emptying my too-heavy backpack into my locker when Miss Evans, our coach, approached me. “Jade! I know you’re eager to get home, but the last date for the tournament registration is tomorrow and I have to fill all these forms. Won’t the star player help me with them?” Groaning, I let her drag me to her room.
After slogging for an hour filling forms requiring redundant details, I made my way back to my locker, but not before slipping on the mud someone had tracked in. The day was getting worse and worse, and I was ready for it to end.
For the next few days, my investigations about Colin were put on hold as I was caught up balancing schoolwork with the upcoming tournament. But it seemed that Luck was still frowning upon me, as I had lost my ‘Diary’ which, unfortunately, also contained all my notes. So I struggled and slogged while Colin the Charmer shined brightly. I hated him more than ever.
The day of the tournament finally arrived, and it was crucial that I perform well. Our team was playing a team known for their aggressiveness, and I hoped Luck would go easy on me for something so important. To top it all, the match was on home ground, and I wanted our school to be proud of us.
Like always, I was wrong. As I finally claimed the ball and focused on the goalpost, a kick to the shin knocked me down. I fell and hit my head, and all went black.
When I woke up, I was laying in the school infirmary, with, to my great surprise, Colin Baxter furiously writing on a notebook.
Still dazed, I stared at him until he finished and handed the book to me. I looked down at it, and was even more shocked to find that it was my diary, in which most of my words had been crossed out and new ones filled in with Colin’s messy scrawl. I struggled to make out the words while he mumbled, “I’m sorry, Jade.”
“Jade Lawson is the star player of St. Mary’s football team. Even when injured, she can turn any match around”
After staring at these words, trying to understand, I turned to Colin.
“I’m sorry, Jade. All that you write about me, it’s you. Don’t you see?”
He was interrupted by Miss Evans, who was glad to see that I was awake. As she examined my wounds, Colin continued to apologize.
“Jade, I’m sorry, this is my fault. I found your diary, and it was far too tempting.. But you need to go out there, you can change the game. You can win it.”
I could feel strength returning to my limbs as I got up from the bed, despite Miss Evans’ protests. Colin was right. I could do it. I could feel it in my bones.
I begged her to put me back in the field. Spurred by my sudden determination and apparent lack of pain, she did.
When I got back on the field, my mind cleared like it used to when I first fell in love with football. I wasn’t nervous anymore; the outcome of this match didn’t matter. As I flew with the ball, the situation dawned on me with sudden clarity.
Colin’s apparent powers, they didn’t come from him, they came from me. By putting him on a pedestal and belittling myself in the process, I had caused those situations to happen. My diary had made it all come true. He had found it and it had empowered him.
I finally reached the goalpost, and the goalie was all but absent. Armed with just one thought, I kicked the ball that would change the outcome of this match:
It was me all along.