Night creeps stealthily across the grass, its shadows extending dark fingers that brush your three-stripe boots, your shinpads. You try to move away but you can’t, you are powerless to resist the embrace of evening’s first sirens, calling you to their pillowy breasts from somewhere near the home dugout.
Their arms stretch wide; you yearn for their clasp about you, to rescue you from this awoken field, this arena choked with dawn’s starling calls. Oh, for sleep! To rest beneath an eiderdown of nightingale feathers, to know sweet succour as your eyelids are gently kissed closed, to hear whispered in your ears, “Sleep, gentle warrior,” rather than, “Attack the full back! Fucking hell Snoddy, attack the full back!” You wait for night to fall upon you; your head drops to your chest, you sway under the unfathomable lunar powers that control you, moonbeams illuminate tired recesses of your soul and make it sing of dreams once more. Great vision of Brigadoon, captured so fleetingly in the stolen minute before sleep! Can any before now have longed so forlornly for release from the cruel pantomime of the waking world? Sought with such fervour a means of escaping Jermaine’s song of moans, Kisnorbo’s kookaburra shouts? They cannot know what pain is involved in taking these faltering steps to the halfway line, to return and attack again is like waking for morning anew, to feel all the weight of day pressing down upon your shoulders when all you long for is sleep! Precious sleep! For Andrew Hughes to be dropped, on what blessed afternoon will you find the sandman at right full-back? When will they let you, let you lay down here in the soft turf, to relax your weary muscles, to bring peace to the hostilities that assail you? The sirens call once more from somewhere beyond the night: “Wake the fuck up, Snoddy, have you been fucking drinking Horlicks?” They beseech you to swim to them, swim through their lake of warm malted milk to where they wait on the rocks, where they will receive you, carry you like a new-born child back to the soft caress of your bed, your island. You bought that bed in Ikea. As your eyes close for a final time on the day, you remember that last turn of the allen key, the first soft moments reclined aboard your memory mattress. It was the happiest moment of your life.
From The Square Ball magazine 2009/10 issue eleven.