I was a Sambal player at the villa I visited with my family a couple of years ago.
We were in a villa called Vazire and there was a small shack up on a hill, which had a small pool.
We’d get our food and drink and we’d play games like pool, board, darts, and other games.
But every so often, I’d get a call from my mother asking me if I wanted to go fishing and, if so, where.
My mother would ask me, “How did you do?”
“I caught a fish.”
My mother said, “And how was it?”
“It was pretty good, really good.”
I asked, “But what were you doing?”
“Oh, I was playing golf with my dad.
I played a round of golf with him.”
“He had a bad knee.
He couldn’t get out of bed for months at a time.”
“And then, when he came out of the hospital?”
“Well, he was doing okay.”
“Well then, what did you play?”
“He was playing a round with his friends.
They were playing pool.
He didn’t know how to do it, but they were playing it really well.”
“They were having a good time, weren’t they?”
“Yes, but I was the only one.”
“I thought you had a good golf swing, weren.
You must have got a good swing, because you were so good at the golf course.”
My father, who had played tennis for many years, was in the first row in the front row of the tennis court.
I said, not that he would mind.
I told him that I had a very good swing.
He said, I’ve seen your swing.
I thought that was great, but that I was still a little nervous about the game.
“How bad is it?” he asked.
“You know, I had to go to the hospital last night because of a bad case of malaria.”
“Yeah, it was horrible.”
“You should be home in a week.”
I’ve got to go back to school.
It’s a bad time for me.”
My parents asked, what were we going to do?
“I told my mother that I needed to get back to work.
She said, well, you’re not going to be able to work, are you?
You’re going to have to stay at home.”
My mom said, you know, you’ve got some other things you should do.
I looked at her and said, yeah, I know, but it’s not my fault.
“It’s not your fault,” she said, looking at me.
I couldn’t understand.
“Because you’re going back to that life.”
“Why don’t you just stay home?”
I looked back at my father.
“I just can’t do it.
My knees are too bad.”
“What about you?” she asked.
I replied, “I’m a Sambag.”
She said that’s what I was, and she was right.
She started to cry.
“Don’t cry,” I said.
I just don’t want to be back at school.”
“It’ll be OK,” she told me.
“Your knees aren’t too bad.
You should just keep going.”
“But I can’t,” I told her.
It’s just so much pressure on my knees.
I don’t have the energy to do anything else.
It feels like my knees are going to collapse.”
“We’ll do what we can, my daughter.”
I was devastated.
My family was going to lose me, I thought.
My father was not going back, he said.
I was not sure I was going back.
My daughter was the most important person in my life.
She was the one who was going through the worst of it.
I needed someone to help me.
So I called my mother.
“Hi, Mom,” I called her.
She asked me what was wrong.
“My knees,” I replied.
“Oh,” she replied.
She looked at me and said.
That’s what we do.
“That’s not right.
Your knees are hurting.”
I said that was fine, and then I said something else.
I asked her, what if I could come to school and play tennis?
“You’d have to come with me.”
“Sure,” she agreed.
So we did that.
But she had to be home with me for a few weeks.
She missed me so much.
“Well,” I asked my mother, “you’re going home.
And what about your knee?”
“Because my knees hurt.”
“Okay, I’ll come back.”
She smiled back at me, and we both got out of there.
We walked into the woods.
“Where is the doctor?” my mother asked.