It was not love at first sight because I fell blindly in love with her. My eyes, I never used. We saw each other for the first time in a sports store. The moment she saw me, it struck a chord and there was this spark between us. In her eyes, I saw the love she had for the game. She was just a rising star in the tennis world and was not known to many. The very next day I saw a piece of news on television, she had qualified for a major Grand Slam. It was her big break and just like any other debutant, she was the 100th seed.
Maybe it was déjà vu or sixth sense but when I heard about Mandarin qualifying for the grand slam, there I had the conviction that she would ask me out the very next day. It was my first date and I was nervous. However, things went very smoothly. She was a rock star. She was kind, affectionate and funny. After our first date, we realized that we had found our soul mates in each other. We knew we would be together for a long time. We shared something special and no amount of words could describe that feeling.
After the first couple of dates, we got to know each other better. We started to spend as much time possible, together. Whether it was off the court or on it. What impressed me most about her was her passion for the game. She had won the first two matches with an easy margin. But her biggest test was the third one. She was going to compete against her childhood idol, Jalapenos, the number one seed and winner of 12 Grand Slam titles. Jalapenos was the favorite to win the match. However, Mandarin wrote her name in the books of history by beating Jalapenos.
After that rather emphatic win, things started to change. Mandarin became an overnight star. She was the talk of the town and the center of attraction. Everyone spoke about her. She saw an ascend in her rankings. And within no time Mandarin was the number one seed in the world. She was now the face of the tennis world. It was really a special journey which we both had embarked together, so far. Due to Mandarin’s superstitious nature, she made sure that I would always accompany her to every match.
It had been seven years since we had been together. She was within touching distance of a rare glory. One more Grand Slam win and she would have won her seventh in a row. It was a rare feat not many had achieved. Unfortunately, she lost the match.
It was this loss that changed her life and for the ones close to her. She was completely broken after this loss. Days passed and I would keep waiting for her to pick me up for her practice sessions.
However, she kept me waiting for no fault of mine.
Our long talks were now shortened. It was on one such fateful day I saw her consume drugs. That shattered my heart. I was torn apart. She failed to realize that I would have always been there for her. For I had loved the human in her and not the tennis star.
Mandarin was banned by the Tennis Federation. Soon after our fall out, Mandarin met with an accident and was gone far away from me. The romance was still alive within me.
I still feel her presence around me. The love and concern we had was special. We always respected each other’s space.
Today I was auctioned and now I sit in a showcase of a rich man who proclaims to be a diehard fan of Mandarin.
This is my story, story of Wilson the racket.
Her sweat is still on my handle and the smell still captivates me. She had just not been my soul mate but she was a part of me.
She is still alive, for her soul resides in me and I am dead as she has taken my soul away. She was my soul. Still is.
With contributions from Ameya Dusane