As Emmanuel heard the whistle, a lot of thoughts went through his head. He was suddenly unsure whether being a girl was worth loosing all this. Here he was on the verge of starting a career that really pays. If he played his cards, he wouldn't need to work or go to school for that matter. His life could be set. But then again, thinking back to all those nights he spent wishing, praying to God to turn him into a woman... he also had all those wishes coming true.
"Maybe if I could..." Emmanuel's thoughts were cut short by someone shouting:
He shifted his attention to the ball flying fast right at him. He had not been watching the game. He leapt off his right foot, stretching his hand as his fingertips got a touch of the ball pushing it outside. He stood up and took that as a wake up call.
He put his body and soul into the rest of the game and came up with a performance that came easily to him. He could have bested both goalkeepers with half that performance.
The coach didn't even wait for his opinion after the game before offering him a contract.
"Listen kid, you got some skills I won't deny that. We got a slot open if you want it. One year, $200 a week and accommodation if you should request it. What do you say?"
"But I'm still a student" Emmanuel tried to protest.
"We have practice and match-ups almost always on Saturdays and Sundays. Other days, the sub keepers can cover"
"Lucas was right. You're what we've been missing in this team. But we might just as well carry on without you. Your choice"
Emmanuel looked round the team catching Lucas' gaze. Lucas nodded as if to say "take it". Emmanuel had given in.
"Okay sure. I agree. But I can't be relied on to be here weekdays." He said with a much bolder voice
"I'm sure we can work around that" the coach finally replied. The whole team was smiling now as Emmanuel shook the coach to seal it all. Emmanuel was officially a part of this team.
But there were certain details that Emmanuel had failed to think through. One year is a long time. What happens when he starts to grow breasts, or when fat in his body starts getting deposited to his hips and other areas. He was making a big mistake and he knew it but you're not really transgender if you don't take chances and risks now, are you?
The days of the next three months went in a loop. School, one pill a day, stunning performance in football. So far so good. Plus his bank was looking good while it all happened.
Some of the real problems started when he woke up one morning to take a bath and he finally paid attention to what he'd been noticing the last few weeks. The lumps under his nipples were growing bigger and with that. The general area of his chest. In fact he could take a hand and squeeze now but just barely noticable. He had hoped that the hormones would give him a little more time but that didn't seem to be the case. His hips had grown a few cm but nothing too alarming. Nothing baggy clothes couldn't handle but even worse, he was slowing down. He wasn't quite as quick or as reflexive as he had been a few months ago. Normally this would be a welcome change but not now.. not with the championships coming up. The team's performance had granted them a qualifiers match and the next victory would guarantee them a place in the championships. A spot that has eluded them three years running. The team needed him now.
"Should I stop hormones for the time being?" He thought. NO!!! seemed to echo through the air. He didn't want to stop. He couldn't. He had to tell the team what he'd been up to. What would they do? Burn him at the stake? They couldn't, could they?
He wasn't scared anymore. He made a decision that he would tell them that he can't continue as their keeper. He was meant to be a woman. This goalkeeper thing was just a detour.
On Saturday he would tell them.
Surely this wouldn't end well.
Saturday came quicker than he had hoped. That day was the day he was going to tell somebody who he was. Not somebody. But a group of testosterone filled males.
"I'm not scared. I'm not scared. It's my body" he said as he steeled himself for the task ahead.
Before practice began, he got his chance.
"Hey guys. There's something I need to say" he began. Over the last few months, they had come to respect him. In truth, they couldn't have come this far without him.
"Yeah sure dude, what is it?" Someone said as everybody turned to face him
"I can't continue playing for this club" he said
"What?" Someone asked
"Coach?" Another called out
Coach arrived and asked what was going on
"I can't play for this club anymore" he repeated
Coach frowned "another club approached you? That it? Better offer? Better league standings?"
"No no no" Emmanuel said "it's nothing like that. I can't play football again"
"School? Parents? We can talk to either" coach replied almost immediately
"It's not that either, coach" Emmanuel said with his head down
"Then what is it? Spill it lad!" Coach said half shouting
"I'm on HRT and football is interfering with it... or vice versa" he said finally
"HRT? What the fuck is that?" Coach asked
Emmanuel looked at all the faces again and sighed
"Hormone Replacement Therapy. I'm taking pills to become a woman. I'm entering the deeper stages and I can't play in my current condition" he explained
Coach raised an eyebrow and loud murmurs filled the team
"Emmanuel a word in my office please. Lucas, start practice"
Emmanuel followed like a lost puppy hearing some of the comments as he turned his back. A few more minutes and he'd be out of here for good.
In coach's office, it was more like an interrogation than a conversation. Questions ranging from "what is this?" to "when did it start?" to "and you can't play anymore?" And at the end of the conversation, Coach had told him to play the qualifiers match then his contract would be over. He had agreed and then left the stadium. A lot of those boys had probably never heard those words before. To cut it short, him being in the team for one more week was not a cakewalk for anybody.
Things seemed all bad for Emmanuel and he began questioning everything that had gone on these last few months. His supply of money had been cut and his 'friends' in the team couldn't think lower of him but things were about to pick up. Something... or someone good was about to enter his life.
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