"Lance... Your father is dead..."
Enveloped in a very familiar and heavy atmosphere, Lance found himself in a scene he had once forgotten in his life. He looked at his aunt in front of him who is crying while holding the telephone beside her ear.
Lance was speechless not by the news of his father's death but by an unrealistic turn of events. He could not believe what he is experiencing by himself. His aunt has reverted back to her 20's, they are back in the house he had once sold and heard the very exact news that had thoroughly destroyed his life.
His thoughts slipped out of his mouth as his eyes dilated in shock.
He was confused. He did not know if this was a dream or a real thing. Di he came back in time or did he fall into a deep sleep? He does not know but he could tell that everything feels very real.
He can feel the warm blood coursing through his veins and the cool air blowing around his skin.
It did not seem like a dream.
His aunt stood before his eyes and looked at him in shock and grief of her brother's unexpected death.
"Lance, your father collapsed and hit his head hard during training..."
His eyes fell on his aunt's crying face and thought, "I remember now... This is the time when my father died..."
Once again, Lance's once forgotten memories slowly resurfaced. This was the exact scenario back in his teens and he remembers it all now.
"I don't care..." Lance remembered that this was his response back then. It was driven by the hate he bore against his father.
That was when he was still immature to not try to understand the whole story. So this time he wants to change it.
He was caught up by emotions and tears started to fall from his eyes.
His aunt dropped the telephone and quickly run into him. His aunt hugged him tight and said, "I know that you might have always said that you hate your father... But just this one time, can you see him out and say that you love him?"
The funeral came and Lance sat on the far corner of the hall.
Everyone who visited his father did not try to talk to Lance as it was no secret how their father-son relationship is bad. Except for his aunt, no one else approached him until the end.
Even when he has long forgiven his father, he still could not bring himself to look at his father at the last moment.
After the funeral, his aunt stayed behind and accommodated the visitors while Lance went back home by himself.
While looking at the window a thought flashed into his mind. He stood up and called a cab to his father's apartment.
Lance clenched his fist and talked to himself.
"You have returned back in time! What did you do? You changed nothing! At the age of 10, your mother died and you hated your father. Now that you came back to the age of 15, you couldn't even ask for forgiveness at your father's final moments! You couldn't even speak in front of his coffin." Lance raged in anger at himself.
He could remember how he once always acted against his father and how he once hated him to the bone.
He could remember how his father played basketball whilst his mother was dying. That was when he started hating his father and basketball. He became a delinquent since then which worsened after his father's death. He destroyed his life and drunk, smoked, drugged until he was old enough to understand the whole story of his father.
Lance dragged his feet along the hall and looked at the house's interior. Nostalgia took over him until he found himself in his father's room. Before and even in the future he was in, Lance never visited or saw this room. He once sold it all without looking at this room.
Now that he had finally seen it, there is one thing that attracted him the most. He walked towards it and opened the glass cover. He stretched his hands towards the ball and held it in his hands.
He looked at its clean surface. It seems like his father never missed to clean the ball. Then he saw the large scribbles on the ball, and as soon as he saw it he knew whose writing it was. It was his, it was his penmanship when he was seven.
'Congratulations father! You were so cool! You looked like super-man! I love you so much!'
Lance remembered the time when his father won MVP at NBF.
It was the time when his father and mother were still with him smiling.
Lance tried to dribble the ball but it did not bounce back up to his hand and fell short. It does not have enough air.
Lance took the ball and placed it on the bed before looking around to find an air pump.
He dug through his father's drawer and found the pump. He took the ball and saw more scribbles in it. They were small but enough to be read. It was written by his father.
'I am sorry Lance. I apologize that you have to live with an incompetent father. I couldn't even see your mother at her final moments. I am sorry that basketball is all I know what to do...'
Lance read all the lines and felt the apology of his father in every word.
'... I hope you can forgive me.'
After reading the last words, Lance finally stood up and took the ball with him.
Somehow Lance felt encouraged to apologize in front of his father's grave. As if afraid to lose time, he ran out of the house and called a cab to the cemetery.
Under the dark grey sky, Lance came out of a cab and walked towards his fathers grave. He stood there and held the ball in his hands. He said, "I am sorry, dad..."
As soon as he spoke, the sky showered rain. The raindrops fell on top of his head and drizzled down his face.
"I realized. It was not you who left... It is I who left you..."
Lance stood there looking at the grave with his face full of regret. He soaked his loneliness in the rain and wished for the rain to wash the heavy feelings in his chest away.
"What would have happened if I tried to understand you?"
In the background, his aunt saw him in front of his father's grave and quietly walked over. She held an umbrella and raised it over Lance's head. She did not say anything and stayed there with her nephew.
Lance glanced at her and then back to the grave. He felt the ball held in his hands and looked at it. He remembered how much he yearned to play when he could not play it anymore.
"I want to start again."
His aunt heard him and glanced at him.
"Aunt Liza... I want to play basketball again."
His aunt did not know what to say and pursed her lips before nodding.
"I will support you."
Lance looked at the ball in his hand and thought, "Call it redemption or call it a calling... I never hated the ball... The feeling of dribbling, shooting and playing. I want to do it again...
My father overworked himself to become a great basketball player to secretly support me.
I may be trapped in a young body now but my spirit and soul is that of an old man. I will learn from my mistakes and do what I know I can do.
Call it a curse or a destiny... But this time it is my turn to spend this chance to return back in time to play a sport that I loved."
Lance looked up the sky and thought, "This time, let me cry, let me feel pain, let me fall and let me rise again with a ball beside me. Let this be the mark of my new life."
So, thank you for reading. I hope you enjoyed.
I won't explain anything yet regarding some elements in the story and will let the story explain for itself.
Please tell me what you think in the comments section below.
If you saw any issues in my way of storytelling(+grammar), please do tell me. (Please help me.)
Thanks for your time once again
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