My prompt: Everybody’s got World Cup fever! Or do they? Your next story must include the World Cup in a prominent way (it can’t just be on a TV in the background) 🙂
So I did a thing.
I wrote a controversial short story. And even though I hope it doesn’t, I know it will offend people.
Keep in mind a couple things:
1) Originally, I wrote this out of frustration. My biggest “thing” as of late is people with opposing views waging war against each other. In a world where everyone can say what they want, there’s bound to be someone that thinks different than you. Religion. Politics. Sports. Prejudices. I am all for having your own views as I feel this demonstrates freedom of choice, but I am very against the ways people choose to act out their differences. Fighting? Killings? Posting rude or nasty pictures on social media sites to make the other side evoked? Please, LET IT END. Work out differences in way that can be civil. No good ever came from forcing someone to see your side of things. I hope that by reading this short story (written by an imperfect human being) that you can see that there is a peaceful solution to having differences.
2) As the writer of this short story, I’d like to say that I am friends with people of all opinions. And I love those with different views because they help me see the bigger picture in life. And, dare I say it, they even make me feel stronger in my own faith. And from what I’ve experienced, a simple conversation has gotten me a lot farther than “shoving what I believe down someone’s throat.” (Last line is in quotations because this is the example used by a friend that spent time talking with me about difficult topics.) This conversation is actually based off of one I had in college. I promised the person I originally talked to about this subject that I would one day put my thoughts in writing. Well now I did. Your name isn’t Jason, but you did challenge me to put some thought into how I viewed life. So thanks!
3) My views are mine and mine alone and do not reflect my co-writer’s thoughts. In fact, this is a conversation we haven’t really talked in depth about. I do know that she loves people. 🙂
4) If you are still reading this long intro, please go into reading my story with an open mind. I’m not looking for agreement. I’m just a girl that thought it was time to give an inside glance into the thoughts I’ve yet to share with the interweb.
5) I hope the World Cup in this story is prominent enough for you, M. 😉
6) I almost didn’t post this because I had panic attack like symptoms over how this might be accepted. But you know what… I can’t be ashamed of my own thoughts. I’m a writer and I write. That’s that.
7) Number 6 happened because I almost went and deleted this whole thing.
8) I’m still debating it.
9)I’m sending myself to bed now.
A Conversation over a Table Full of Food
One would think it’s a crime to walk into a World Cup party wearing a hockey jersey. At least, that’s the impression I got when I walked through my friend’s front door and fifteen sets of eyes immediately glared at me. One of them even boo’s me, pointing at my shirt.
Jason, my friend from COM 103, makes a gagging sound as I join him at the food table. He dips a scoopable chip into some salsa before leading a generous portion to his mouth. “Did you forget which sport is playing today, Nat?” I shudder at the fixed nickname that’s been following my whole life. I wish people called me by my full name: Natalie. Instead, I’m forced to share the same name as the annoying bugs that swarm the air in the summertime.
“Not a big soccer person,” I say, surveying the table. The hostess went all out on this party. Appetizers on the left and casseroles, sandwiches, and a roast in the middle all lead to an impressive dessert display at the end. I spot pizza puffs mixed into the buffet and drop two on a plate. “Hockey is a much better sport, anyways.”
Jason huffs, a spitlet of red juice falling on his shirt. “No way! Soccer is worldwide. Hockey just gets Canada, eh.”
I smoosh the puff on my plate under my finger. “Wrong. Haven’t you ever watched the Olympics?” I roll my eyes and sigh dramatically. Jason covers his mouth with the back of his hand and laughs. “But, at least America has the Blackhawks under its belt.”
Jason stops laughing and nods at my shirt. “You’re a Blackhawks fan? Geez, Chi-Town, I couldn’t tell.” He glances at the TV and then at the couch. He looks like he wants to join them, but decides against it. “Sucks you’re going to school in only THE GREATEST HOCKEY TOWN IN THE WORLD.”
Someone from the bathroom chants “LA Kings. LA Kings.”
“You guys win one Stanley Cup…” My words trail off and I end the thought with a shrug. “Besides there’s always next year.” Damn. I was starting to sound like a Cubs fan. “Hey wait, I thought you were a World Cup kind of guy.”
“I am.” Jason’s lips tug up at the sides. “But if there’s a chance to annoy you or any Blackhawks fan, I’ll be whatever I have to be to do so.”
“Thanks a lot.” I bump our shoulders together. “Hey, where’s Brad? I thought you guys were supposed to be here together?”
Jason’s shoulders rise and fall. “Well, you know how college dating goes. He wants to take some time to focus on his studies.” He shrugs again. “I don’t know. We got into a fight a couple days ago over something stupid and I don’t think he’s over it yet.”
“Sorry to hear that.” And I am. Fighting, in general, sucks. It took a lot of pep talk to even get me to walk into a room full of LA Kings fans while wearing a controversial jersey.
“I don’t think it’s all me, though. He’s been pretty down about his family situation recently. His mom is terminal, but thanks to his dad, he’s not allowed to go see her.” Jason’s composure twists into anger, his forehead wrinkling with more lines than someone his age should have. “And his dad isn’t one to judge for what he thinks ‘evil’ is. I mean, Brad’s not the one that went to prison because of an alcoholic abuser… loser.” I tap my shoulder against his once more, this time leaving it there. Jason sighs and eats on of the pizza puffs off my plate. “Sorry. I hate getting angry. I just can’t stand two-faced idiots. Brad’s really beat up over the whole thing, ya know?”
I did know. The beginning of the semester our professor gave us an assignment where we had to interview another student and then present their info in front of the class as an impromptu information speech. Jason was the one that interviewed Brad. When the time came for his presentation, the class fell into silence as Jason explained Brad’s situation.
“You know,” Jason whispered. “I don’t think we ever finished our conversation from that day.”
“You know. How you, as a Christian, feel about the whole thing.“
I take in a deep breath and slowly let it out. “Honestly, Jason, I don’t really know how to answer that.”
“Can you try?” He picks at the Salsa again. “You don’t have to… but I’d really like to hear your perspective on this. You’re the only Christian I’ve met that hasn’t tried throwing holy water at me when they find out what I am.”
Jason laughs and whatever tension I’d been feeling fell to the floor. This is how it should be in life: People with two differing opinions talking respectfully with one another on stressful topics.
“The way I see it,” I say, “Everyone has the right to believe what they want to believe, right? And I believe everyone has a free choice in how they live their lives. And some people want to turn their beliefs or opinions into some kind of war and I’m not signing up for that. I’m not one to point any fingers. I know nobody’s perfect, but I’m especially not perfect.” I pick a pizza puff over the serving tray. “My poor dieting skills—or lack thereof—will tell you that.”
“And you’re a Blackhawks fan.”
“And you’re an LA Kings fan. Like I said, nobody’s perfect. And that’s why I put my faith in Christ. Because he’s forgiven me for that fact and loves me anyways. And if he can love someone like me, then I need to pay it forward and do the same in my life. And I can’t do that by condemning the world while I have a bag full of my own problems in my purse.”
“So that’s it? Your solution is…”
I frame my hands into a heart. “Love!”
“You missed your mouth and spilled salsa on your shirt earlier. You can’t judge me.”
Jason looks down and gasps. “Oops.” He lifts his shirt and sucks the spot clean. “So what you’re saying is… I can be respectful of your Hockey team if you’re respectful to mine.”
“And you love me?”
“Both teams are hockey. We’re both only human. I just said I need to love everyone no matter what we agree or don’t agree on.”
Jason nods. “Alrighty then.” He beams. “Thanks for this. I’d actually love to sit down with you some time and talk about this some more. I enjoy our conversations.”
“Sounds good.” We shake on it. “So. Should we join the others now?”
Jason offers me his arm. I loop mine into his and we head towards the couch, our plates and conversation left behind at the food table for now. Or so I thought…
“LA Kings rule,” he shouts the moment we sit down. The room erupts in cheers. I smirk. That’s okay, some disagreements are bound to happen. Especially in a world where everyone has the own opinions.
Even in hockey.
SaM is going on break for the month of August. We’ll see you all again in the fall. Peace, love, and coffee!!!!!!!!!