Updated: May 16, 2021
"Bring it on!" challenged a tall, slim 13-year-old boy; his opponent responded with a defiant glare. The two boys were standing on a vast area of grass, the sun was blazing, and not a single breeze glided in the humid air. The ball was zooming between Imari and his friend, it was very noticeable that his friend was much better than him. Imari was fast and Nile was tactical. Imari stole the ball from Nile and raced to the goalpost, Nile caught up and tricked him with a rapid foot movement; with the ball in his possession, he took a millisecond to aim and kicked with all the strength he could muster so that the ball flew into the goalpost!!! Nile let out a triumphant yell wich made Imari laugh, he was about the same height as Nile, Imari was darker though, way darker! He was the kind of boy that was easy to cheer up and he always liked a good laugh. Nile had dragged him to the 'pitch' for some training, Imari was getting better every day. The boys sat down on the grass, Imari was clearly exhausted; Nile seemed fine, sweating was not a big deal for him. Nile had grown up a lot since you last met him, he had messy dark brown hair, a sharp jawline, and kind eyes. Matching his features were his generous and slightly stubborn attitudes. "What are you doing this evening?" Nile asked Imari, "nothing really" Imari answered vaguely. "man, school is starting soon..." he pointed out "yeah" Nile replied less enthusiastically. At the sight of his friend's expression, Imari grinned and said mockingly "are you scared?" Nile grabbed a fistful of grass and threw it on Amari's head "Hey! That's gonna take ages to wash off!" Imari exclaimed which made Nile laugh. "Anyway... why the long face?" Asked Amari, this time seriously " I don't know..." began Nile "I mean, you know how much I hate school, plus now we're in middle school..." he paused and looked his friend in the eyes "Will the kids be nice?" The childish question seemed to slip between his lips; Imari smiled "I'm sure it'll be great, we're in this together, the three of us!"
Nile, Imari, and Adelaide have been best friends since Nile came to Jinja, a few months ago. When the Risenburns came to Uganda, they lived in a small apartment in Kampala; Nile was homeschooled by his mother while Lyam worked. Then after a year, they decided to move to Jinja, a small village where the river Nile passes by; Nile began attending school and Martha resumed her career.
As the boys passed by the river to reach home Nile glanced sideways, the Nile was so strong yet peaceful, he felt...connected.
Nile lived in a nice house near the river, Amari's and Adelaide's houses were next to his; the three families had developed a strong bond: the mommies liked to have cups of tea at the riverside and even created a little vegetable garden! The daddies were all about soccer! It's like they were one big family.
Reaching home, the boys spotted Adelaide near the river. "Ade! What have you got there?" Nile called out, she turned and yelled "look!" while making vigorous gestures with her hands indicating them to come; Imari started to laugh and whispered to Nile "she gets mad when she's excited" and rolled his eyes which made them both laugh. Ade didn't mind asking why they were laughing; she was busy with a river turtle! Imari and Nile crouched down and watched as Ade carefully cleaned the wound on the turtle's paw then gently wrapped a bandage around it. Adelaide was indeed a very pretty girl, yet she was so busy with her animal rescues that her hair was almost always messy and her hands dirty; she had an adventurous attitude, and she was always ready to help. When Ade was done Imari asked, "are you gonna keep him as a pet too?" Nile laughed and even she smiled "no, I'm going to keep him in my room for a day, for observation, then I'll release Flippy" "Flippy?" Nile jocked "yes, Flippy," Ade said confidently.
Nile felt happy and warm inside, he had a good day, all was well... so far... school was about to start after their long summer break and he was just not ready! He wished school never existed, he hadn't mastered the language yet and the kids always teased him in school. But language is what everyone believed made him feel uncomfortable, honestly, it was the fact that he wasn't at home... he felt apart... even if he was surrounded by amazing friends and family but...
Since he was a kid, life was smooth but now it's all bumpy. What Nile didn't know is that only when things are rough, you discover yourself better.