John raised his half-full pint glass towards the clear Southern France summer skies and bellowed with all the voice he had left in his body the immortal words that had morphed into the anthem of their European summer adventure: “don’t take me home”. The rest of the hundreds of the Three Lions Supporters in a fully packed Nice terrace area automatically answered in the only way they possibly could from the top of their lungs: “Please don't take me home. I just don't wanna go to work. I wanna stay here and drink all your beer. Please don't, please don't take me home”.
And so it rolled on. Somebody would start and everybody would follow. They had done it for couple of weeks already and had no intention of stopping now as the big quarter-final against the minnows of the on-going competition, Iceland, were the only team standing between the English and the next round in the competition.
It was a magnificent sight. Hundreds of English football supporters, topless in blistering continental heatwave. Everyone burned in the sun, smashed out of their minds, living their best life in the summer of 2016. Kroneberg was spilled, Gauloises butt’s flicked in chipped glass ashtrays and terrace tables fell down like dominoes as the surely victorious fans were preparing themselves for the game. Somebody had brought a football with them and it was launched through the hot summer air from terrace to terrace accompanied by fits of roaring laughter. More tables and pints were spilled over.
John and his friends had been there from the start of the Euro2016. He had no intention of going home even though he knew that his boss would give him hard time for staying in France longer than he was supposed to. He didn’t care, it was peak life. It couldn’t get any better.
Stevie pushed himself through the crowd and tried to say something in John’s ear. The message was lost into yet another gigantic performance of “don’t take me home”. John noticed that his dear friend’s half-drunk eyes were abnormally serious in the midst of all the glorious mayhem, but he didn’t care. It was still peak life.
Stevie’s breath smelled of stale lager and too many cigarettes as he leaned into John’s ear once again and shouted something about “game” and “lost”. John thought that his friend had lost something, a lighter obviously, so he reached into the pocket of his session uniform, a trusty pair of Carhart WIP cargo shorts and fished out his black Colt.
Stevie waved the lighter away and leaned even closer to John’s ear to shout the words: “we lost, 2-1 we lost”.
“Who lost”, answered baffled John, his beer-marinated brain cells working furiously to process the weird message his friend was relying to him.
“We lost. Iceland won. 2-1. We’re out of the competition”, shouted Stevie, now making furious cut-throat signals and waving his arms like a mentally unstable referee in a football game for the deaf.
“What. The game starts in few hours, mate. Take it easy”, stupendous John argued, his eyes already betraying a little of his rising self-doubt.
“No”, laughed his friend, “we missed it, the game was played yesterday evening. Late kickoff. It’s over. We lost 2-1. We’re going home”.
John burst out in uncontrollable fit of laughter: “what, really, can’t be, what, how”.
“Yeah, it’s true. We’re out”, chuckled Stevie and saluted John with the last remaining drops of lager in his pint glass his dreary eyes already filling with mist of inevitable end of their peak life.
John raised his own glass in salute: “f*ck it, it’s not over until it’s over… don’t taaaakeeee meee hooomeeee…”