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September 18, 2012
An old man watches young earthbenders play Earth soccer and has an epiphany.
The sun was sinking lower into the sky and the day was cool, but not too cold. It was a refreshing temperature, and the wind chilled it just a bit as it flowed softly through the streets of the city. The man leaned against a rocky wall at the edge of a courtyard. His woven, conical hat was tilted forward, shadowing his wrinkled face. The tip of his gray beard stuck out from the darkness, like a furry animal as perched on his chin. A smile touched his lips as he watched the group of six boys run around in the dusty, rocky courtyard.
At each end of the courtyard, there were wooden poles sticking out of the ground with rugged nets attached to them, forming crude goals. A tattered ball sat in the middle of the field, waiting to be kicked by the boys playing around.
The tallest boy, one with long hair tied in a pony tail, stomped on the ground quickly. A pillar of earth shot up from the ground and the ball shot up. A shorter boy, who seemed to be about ten, sprinted forward and kicked the ball out of the air. It zoomed towards the opposing team's goal, but a boy of medium height (but more than average weight) thrust his arms out, causing a slab of earth to stop the ball from reaching the goal.
The short boy groaned and rolled his eyes, turning around. The tall boy smiled and said, "Nice try, Gimu!"
Gimu raised his eyebrows and took a stance by his goal, ready to defend it if the ball came his way. The old man stared at Gimu, watching the boy with intense eyes.
The play continued and the boys moved about, earthbending here and there and little significant events occurred for the next ten minutes. The man yawned quietly right as the tall boy kicked the ball high in the air, even above the surrounding buildings (which were only two stories). Gimu ran forward and shot his hands downward. A pillar threw him fifteen feet in the air, right as the ball was coming down. He spun around and stuck out his leg, striking the ball right in the center. It dashed forward and soared straight into the goal before any of the other players could react.
Gimu landed softly as his two teammates ran towards him, high-fiving and smiling. The fat boy on the other team began speaking furiously at his friend who was standing near the goal when the ball went in. "Chit-say, you have to stop the ball from going in!" he snapped. "Don't just stand there."
"Sorr-y!" replied Chit-say, throwing his hands in the air.
The boys continued on with the game as the man stared, fascinated, at them. His mind started to wander back to the days when he was their age. Earth soccer was a popular thing for him to do back then, even in the days of the war. Though it was rarer, for fear of attack from the Fire Nation. He looked back on those days, running amuck and coming home covered in dirt and dust. He smiled and blinked to hold back the tears. Those days were long gone, for earth soccer would be very hard for him. Life had changed. He had grown older.
But change happens. It is inevitable, he realized. And there was nothing he could do to fight it. It would happen, as it does to everyone. He must remember the past, but accept the future. Everyone must. He smiled again, this time for a different reason. The old man smiled because he was happy for these youngsters, as he was happy for himself when he was young. And he was still happy for himself. The sky grew darker and the children's mothers came, calling for them to come home to wash, supper, and then to go to bed. As they left the courtyard, he stood up and walked out of the square and into the streets of the city. He envied those boys, but his young days had passed and his life had moved on. His life had, like the cycle of the seasons, changed...
...changed for the better.
- Surprisingly enough, the author came up with this at soccer practice
- This is probably the beginning of a collection of one-shots, kind of like by .
- Change only had 667 words, Henryjh98's shortest work yet.
I know, I know, it is a little crude, but I was on a tight schedule. I'll probably do some editing. Please comment, and enjoy!
For the collective works of the author, go here.