Azabache

AZABACHE
Freddy Gómez Cajape

I woke up frightened. I had confused Azabache’s voice with the announcer on the radio alarm. Azabache was used to sitting at the door of the bars, listening to the radio broadcast of his favorite team’s game, the “Idol of the shipyard.” Imitating perfectly Ecuador Martinez, the father of sports narrators, he narrated the incidents of the game doubling like a commentator and commercial speaker. How he amused us when he parodied the latest advertisements! “Lady, the size matters, if you want everything to fit in … buy an engine of eight cylinders”….Azabache was the best left wing and the fastest central forward, positions that he alternated according to our conveniences. His eyes illuminated when he saw the soccer ball rolling on the grass. He was the king of the cascaritas. He made filigree with the ball. He controlled it with his head, combed it, stopped it with his chest, and slept it on his instep. He raised it to his knee and passed it to his shoulder with his heel. He returned it to his left foot, and for twenty minutes he continued doing cascaritas without dropping the ball to the floor.When we organized a game, he played with whoever chose him first. He didn’t have preferences. His aim was to make goals that he celebrated with somersaults. In order for us to also score, he served the ball to us as if it were in a tray. All we had to do was push it inside the goal post. As soon as the game ended, he would disappear from the field and return to deliver water to the whole town.At the age of sixteen, he played for the senior varsity team. He made his debut against a second division team from the city of Reales Tamarindos. In this game he wore his first sport slippers. He could not run. The public shouted: “remove that lazy nigger, surely he’s under the effect of dope.” In an oversight of the referee, he took off his shoes, with the ball stuck to his feet, he ran by the left wing, dribbled two defenders, made a cross-caper, and shot from a difficult angle to score an Olympic goal. The opponents protested, but the referee decided that the goal was valid. There were no regulations that prohibited playing without shoes. He dived, and with a head blow scored the second goal that sealed the victory of Prosperina All Stars. At the end of the game, we ran to congratulate him, but he had disappeared. If some talent hunter had seen him playing, surely he would have contracted him.Years later, I found out that he was jailed for a crime he never committed. There was a robbery in a warehouse. On their way out, the thieves spilled oil in the ground and left barefoot prints. Azabache was the only one in town that never wore shoes. The prints matched his size. That size thirteen that he never wore. He confessed himself guilty so the police would not continue breaking his bones. Six months later he was released. The police by chance discovered a clue that lead them to the arrest of the real culprits. The police did not apologize to him. After all, who cares about a black water bearer.He was never the same afterwards. One day he was found in front of the water fountain at the Central Market. He walked in circles and spoke incoherently. The doctors diagnosed him with memory loss. Since then, he begs in the streets. Nobody remembers the adolescent player who could have been a soccer star.

Azabache

gfrederias

Joined December 2007

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