From the sidelines

Richard watched as Miles emerged from the shower rooms. Dripping in cold water, he shivered ever so slightly as he stepped on to the water’s edge and dipped his toes in the pool.

It was a warm day. It was his first big race.

Richard had observed him long enough to know that though a little thinner for his age, Miles had enough muscle strength to power through with powerful stokes. His height was only an added advantage.

Miles was now talking to his coach, signing intently to advice. Richard flinched at the sight of the coach. He hated every bit of alpha-ness that that emitted from him. He was a bad influence on Miles, Richard thought. But he had no right to say anything. After all, when it came to swimming, he was a mere spectator.

And that’s what he did for the next fifteen minutes. As the swimmers took their lanes, Richard was on the sidelines, unknown to the rest of the world, his eyes focussed on Miles’ flexed arms and ready-to-pounce feet. When the whistle blew, he took a sharp breath almost hurting his nostrils. It had begun.

The next few minutes were a blur. Richard heard yells of sadness mangled with cries of jubilation. People had crowded in front of him, blocking his view of the pool. The announcer overhead managed to make his voice louder than the rest of the din. “And it’s Miles who takes home the first place!”

Richard had never loved anyone more. Or been prouder.

The crowd suddenly split to let through a dripping athlete. Miles knelt down so he was level with his father’s wheelchair.

“Thanks, Dad,” and he hugged the once-Olympic swimmer.

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