Raul sat quietly in the dark, his only companions being a half empty bottle of cheap rum and lingering hate. The rum was his childhood friend from Cuba and the hatred was an eight year-old being that came in the form of late flags and silver helmets.
“I hate Ohio State,” he thought in his native tongue. “I hate all that they do and all that they are.” Raul stole another mouthful of his Cuban friend. He slammed the bottle to the table and walked over to the window.
The outside world was nothing like the dark room in which Raul lived. Outside, there were palm trees and sandy beaches and cool breezes carried in like ocean waves. But he wanted none of those things. Raul wanted vengeance.
Raul wanted vengence upon the Communists that raped his island paradise and turned it into a festering hell-hole of economic deparvity and medical incompetance. And he wanted revenge upon the Buckeyes.
“Eight years,” he thought. “Eight years is a long time for a man to hold so much hate in his heart.” He went to bring the bottle to his mouth but forgot he left the rum on the table. “Eei,” he screamed out loud. “Even my rum has deserted me!” He left the warmth and light of the outside and retreated back into the darkness.
He slipped into the black like a man quietly slips into the warm waters of the Caribbean when he flees Cuba. He let the darkness embrace him, invigorate him, and in the darkness he was reborn.
As he sat in his chair, his mind lingered in Arizona, where a flag flew in from the end zone. Raul remembered that moment like most men recalled the first time they touched their child. Every detail, every second of that event, was frozen in his mind. He had celebrated the overtime win for the national championship, went into his bedroom to take a shower, dressed, went to the little cafe down the street for some wine and olives, and came back to view a little post-game celebrations.
It was then, hours after the game had ended, that Porter threw the cursed yellow ribbon from his hip pocket. So late was the horrible, horrible call that Ohio State had to be flown back from Columbus in order to finish the game.
“But it was already finished, my dear amigo Porter; it was already finished.” Raul took another swig of the rum. “But now we will see how it goes when you are not there to help the Luckeyes this time.”
Eight years is a long time for a man to hate. For Raul, it will not be long enough.
The Ohio State University 27, Miami (FL) 14