With interest

I’m on a rainswept terrace watching football. Football! I’m even seeing beauty beneath the aggression. Or is it just that I want this game Pete loves so much to be more than I’ve always thought it was.

Suddenly I’m baying with the rest. I feel animal-wild, tribal, unlike anything I’ve been before. I have passion for the mud-covered men and the contest.

The ball comes forward. Pete swoops. As he’s taking possession a tackle brings him down.

And he stays down. I can see his bloodied face. Next thing I’m trying to get to him. An official holds me back. ‘I’ll take you down to the rooms.’

Pete regains consciousness as they carry him in, his beautiful face a mess.

‘Sorry,’ he says. Then he tells me to look in his jacket pocket. Tickets to the ballet. Tonight’s show.

One look at him says his first dance recital will have to wait. He grins and even the blood and bruises can’t hide that we’re all kinds of crazy about each other. We share a battered moment of joy.

But it’s broken by defeated teammates slumping in around us. It was a game they should have won.