Another piece of World Cup Fiction. This takes place only 12 years ago. Oh, France, how you have fallen…
It was longer originally but I couldn’t find a way to end the longer piece so I cut it.
Mother died in France in the summer of 1998. 9 July. Before France were crowned victors and the country erupted. We had gone to France as a compromise – she wanted a holiday in Europe and me and my father wanted to be wherever the Word Cup Final was. My mother will never know that we were part of history – the first French World Cup win. That was when it became apparent, I knew the outcome, the rush of celebration that swept through a country, the drunks down the Champs Elyse, when she did not. It angered me – how could she not know? How could she hide herself from this knowledge? Once every four years life was pushed forward and history was made and she was ignorant to this knowledge. Even with her limited interest in football she would find herself gripped by the stage and the players and this year, when she was right in the centre of it all, right in the centre – for a brief moment – of the universe, she gave it all up. The intoxication by spirit, by beauty, by dancing, the tricolore draped across Paris and she was nowhere to be seen. She had written herself into a private World Cup history shared between me and my father where every four years the week before the final would be the memory of her body, still, motionless, unknowing.
She created that history, that story and shared moment yet is unaware of any of it. She will remain unaware of every victor from here. Of Italy, of South Korea, of Robbie Keane in the 90th minute, of ecstasy. She knows nothing.