Milk Cow by Nazia Kamali

Milk Cow

Fahad entered the dressing room, the ringing applause of the audience still echoing in his mind. He had won the fourth tournament this year. Everyone celebrated his victory, everyone but one person.

He took his phone out of the locker and dialed Mili’s number. It went straight to the voice mail. He flung the phone back into the locker, slammed it shut, took off his sweaty t-shirt, and went to take a shower. Instead of turning on the water, Fahad ran outside and tried Mili’s number again. All three times that he dialed, the call went to voice mail. He dumped the phone on the bench.

Coach knocked on the bathroom door, “Fahad, my boy.” He could hear the bounce in Coach’s voice. “Still in the shower? Come out already. Everyone is dying to meet you.”

Fahad waited for him to leave before coming out. 

He checked his phone to see if Mili had called. But why would she? It had been almost a year since they broke up. Exhaustion, instead of excitement enveloped his being. Fahad stared at the phone and tried his luck for one last time.

Someone received the call, “Hello.”

A man. Why is a man receiving the call? Fahad disconnected the call in haste.

Maybe she is with a friend. But why would a friend receive her call? Maybe her father is visiting, or she had gone to visit him. Fahad pursed his lips, still staring at the screen.

He dialed the number again, and the same voice responded. Fahad’s heart thumped as he pressed the disconnect button.

He was contemplating if he should call again when Coach materialized in the dressing room. “Fahad. The conference room. Now.”


“The reporters are waiting.”

“Yeah right.”

He dragged himself to the conference room, which buzzed with people. Reporters sitting on the edge, cameramen waiting for him to turn up, their cameras ready to flash any second. Fahad took a last look at his phone.

“You should have left it in the dressing room,” Coach hissed in his ears and then picked a bottle of juice from the table. Fuming he looked around for the organizer’s team manager. “You want Fahad to drink this cheap stuff? All sugar and added preservatives?”

“Sorry sir,” the man grabbed the bottle and ran outside.

Cameramen clicked the buttons with lightning speed. Fahad smiled, more out of politeness than out of joy.

“Take your seat.” Coach almost pushed Fahad and then looked around. “You, why is the room so hot? Turn on the air conditioning,” he shouted at a thin girl who jumped at the sudden order and disappeared, probably to get the remote.

Reporters bombarded them with questions.

“What’s next? How do you feel? Did you expect to win four consecutive tournaments? Do you need some rest, or will you continue playing?”

Fahad blinked.

“One at a time.” Coach placed his hand on Fahad’s shoulders. “Yes, I always knew he was a champion. I never bet on a horse that’s gonna lose,” he laughed. The crowd roared with him.

“What about the Thomas Cup?”

“Of course, he is going to participate. Participate and win,” Coach grinned.

Fahad nodded and managed to whisper, “I’ll try my best.” The phone vibrated in his pocket. He fished it out. A few congratulatory messages.

“Keep that damn thing inside,” Coach spat in his ears.

“Sorry, what were you saying.” Fahad managed a smile and looked at one of the reporters.

“What’s the difference between playing on the home soil and playing here?”

“Our boy excels at all places. Don’t you think?” Coach answered before Fahad.

More clicks, more questions.

“I guess that’s it for the day.” Coach stood up after a while and towed Fahad out like he was a milk cow.

Born and raised in Dehradun, a small valley on the foothills of the Himalayas, Nazia fell in love with writing at a young age. Her work can be read on FemAsia, Rigorous, CafeLit, and other online journals. Her novella, Multicoloured Muffler was published in the Anthology by Running Wild Press. She had also published her novel Beyond the Interregnum recently.

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