I tossed my eyes to the door and said, “Who’s there?”
“It’s me.” said a weak voice, and added, “Can I get in?”
“O Ronaldo come in please” I replied.
He came in, and sat on the only chair in my small room.
“What can I help you Ronaldo?” I asked him.
swinging his skinny legs and throwing his big eyes to my room, he said, “I . . . I . . . I need some thing like . . .”
“Ronaldo are you looking for a pen?”
“No teacher I already have that you gave me last time” he replied.
“I think you need some rough papers for math calculation, am I right?”
“No, I do need paper, I have a lot”
Ronaldo, 9-years-old boy learns in grade four; I am his home-room teacher and his neighbor. He is a fan of Christiano Ronaldo and Manchester United Club. Ronaldo is not his real name but Tesfaye. However, as he plays a very good foot ball with a sock ball, he didn’t hesitate accepting his nick-name, Ronaldo, given by his fellows.
Ronaldo has a faded yellow T-shirt that he wrote Ronaldo on the back in a poor hand writing with a red pen. The T-shirt would have been seen under his school uniform jacket when he goes to school, and on his skinny body when he stays around his village.
“you have to pray a long life to teacher Pilate, because your son passes class to class because of him.”, say some friends of his fathers when he promoted from grade to grade.
However, I do nothing this much contribution for his promoting from one grade to the other but advising him to be a hard working boy. Though, his focus is on Christian Ronaldo and Manchester United club, he puts out in the left ear what he heard in the right one.
“Do you want to be like your father when you grow up Ronaldo?” I asked him one day wondering what kind of man he would be.
“What do you mean when you say like your father?” he asked me back wrinkling his eye-burrows.
“Your father guards somebody’s door for the reason that he is illiterate. Do you need to be like that when you become a big guy?”
“No, I want to be a foot-ball player like Christiano Ronaldo for Manchester United club. If other clubs ask me to hire, I will never give them my ear” said Ronaldo with no hesitation.
“I think you have to be a hard working student to be like Christioano Ronaldo” said I.
“I don’t think so. To be a good football player like Ronaldo needs only “bulle”. If I get a balanced diet, I may build my body and will be like Ronaldo. By the way teacher Pilate, there is a game today”
I don’t have passion for football, and I know nothing what he is talking about. But, he knows well about each of European clubs football players better than anybody does. He knows what they eat, what they drink; what they love, what they hate; how much their weekly and annual income, who are their girlfriends, and their current and past life history.Unfortunately the players never know about the small Ethiopian Ronaldo.
“Ronaldo game adds nothing for your life; you better study your books my fellow.” Said I, realizing his zeal for them is for vain.
“Tonight’s game is a best of best game Teacher Pilate, I swear in my mother”
His mother passed away while she was giving birth, he himself, Ronaldo. Guarding somebody’s door, he was Mekite, his father; grow Ronaldo being like both a mother and a father.
“Ronaldo, How much do you know about the history of mother land Ethiopia?”
“History never feed a stomach Gashe Pilate”
“So does to know about Manchester and Ronaldo feeding the stomach?”
“Yes, of Corse. Unless the media never would propagandize day and night about them”
I kept silence. Ronaldo played hat trick on me. He is right; a history feed not a stomach but a head. It is impractical propagandizing about Axum and Lalibela since we never respond for our basic needs, food.
“Tonight’s game is so different and especial as Ronaldo was playing for Man United before” Ronaldo broke the silence.
“What about now?” I asked.
“For Real Madrid, He gonna fight with his mother club, Manchester United; O there will be a big riot tonight because of Christiano Ronaldo”
“O my God what are you talking about, you are saying he would be suspected and sent be to a prison?”
“If there would be riot in the stadium because of him”
He laughed a lot until tears falling down on his chicks.
“I have never laughed like this since I was born” he said trying to control his laugh. How could do you laugh surrounded with a lot of things that make you cry my boy? I thought.
His father Mekite, born Ronaldo in the end of his days and called his name Tesfaye, thought the son might be his hope; his right hand.
“I don’t care if there will be the end of the world after I watched tonight’s game. I am too curious to watch tonight’s game”
“What if the power is off while you are watching the game?” I asked him.
“Please Gashe Pilate don’t say like that, let the devil ears be deaf. Gashe Pilate there is a café next to the main road, isn’t there?”
“Yes, there is”
“The owners of the café have got a DSTV. They show the game on the DSTV, the game between Man United and Madrid.”
“Whose fan are you?”
“I am Manchester’s. In fact, I love Ronaldo, and I don’t care if the victory is to the Madrid’s”
The day, Ronaldo being empty stomach is more than the day he eats.
His school friends discriminate him saying “your mouth stinks”
They never understand that he doesn’t have a mother who sends him to school packing his lunch kit like their mothers do. No one notices his dad Mekite, remembers not Ronaldo his son like he remembers his areke. However, I have never heard Ronaldo complaining he is starved. Nevertheless, he can hide the sound of his empty-stomach; he can’t hide the bad smell of his mouth coming from an empty-stomach.
“Ronaldo” I called him.
“Yes Gashe Pilate”
“Have you had any food tody?”
“yes, no, yes . . . no . . . yes . . . no”
I got up from my bed; open the plastic bag hanging on the wall; got a bread and gave him, saying, “have this Ronaldo and drink a glass of water”
“I have already had teacher Pilate”, he hesitated to take the bread.
However, I put the bread on his knee and went back to the bed and lied in my back staring at the roof, which Rats made the world map on it with their urine.
(C) Dawit Worku