I saw a reindeer galloping on the moon, a marine watching as the ship neared home soil and the joy of a family reunited. Then there was Christmas in Afghanistan, sanity in the world and smiles on the faces of children in Syria. I saw Muslims and Christians accepting the differences that distinguish them from each other but realising that the role of religion is not that of tearing apart but actually bringing people together for the sole reason that they share the same belief. Rising from the Indian Ocean and shaking the salty waters off their once submerged shoulders, I saw the Maldives in their full brilliance. Turning my attention to my Motherland, I heard a voice crying, ululating, boys and girls dancing and the deep rumble of drums in the mountains announcing freedom of the people.
As I closed my eyes to blink, the colours faded away into nothing and, in an instant, I was a character in a new scene. This time, I saw the sun rising in cold Britain and the Queen, healthy as ever, hand in hand with the Duke of Edinburgh, touring the Stonehenge and realising that the EU is good company after all. A moment later, there was a huge gust of wind and, through the veil covering my face, I could see camels waddling tirelessly in the sands of the Sahara desert. I felt drops of water splattering and bouncing off the top of my head and sinking into the thirsty soils much to the joy of all life in the region.
I remember landing at JFK airport on my visit to the Big Apple without being stereotyped due to how I sound, look, pray or where I come from. I witnessed the birth of a new breed of leadership; one which understands that there is a difference between “building a wall” and building a nation, that the governance of a country cannot be a family matter unless you are run by a monarchy system and that the use of Twitter should simply be left to the Gerrard Piques of this world and not people who have 319 million pairs of eyes looking up to them.
I found myself back in Europe, this time in Milan, listening to the thunderous voices of the Rossoneri faithful as I became one with the San Siro and everyone inside it. Filippo Inzaghi latched onto a ball from Clarance Seedorf and what followed shook the old stadium to life. I saw the curtains fall in front of my face again and when I opened my eyes I saw a flickering light and I heard the words of Nelson Mandela: “Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair.” I felt a strange warmth in my heart, I heard church bells ringing and, for once, I believed in the world and took it upon myself to change it. As I looked up to the heavens again, I saw rain falling down again but this time it had a promise of new life in it; a clean slate in better terms. I cupped my hands and, with every second, my bowled hands filled up. I gazed at the rippled reflection of my face which was floating on the shallow waters in my hands and I splashed the water onto my face.
I wake up and stare at the lifeless clock which stands on my bedside table. My face is drenched in sweat. The fairest share of my attention switches to the cold bottle of painkillers that rests on the back of my old clock. It is funny to think of the massive effect such a small container can have on my happiness. Does it really make me happy though or is it just a trip down Ignorance Lane as the pain stares at me from across the street like a creepy paedophile. I rub the 5 am drowsiness from my eyes and smile. I rejoice in the knowledge that Christ died for my sins and that everything in the glimpses of paradise mentioned in the story above is possible because of that. I rejoice in the knowledge that I have friends around me (most of whom don’t want me dead). It’s not the best story you’ll ever read, but it is the best one I will ever write – MY OWN!