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She put on her fencing mask to hide from her coach. Sam didn’t even know what to do from here on out. She didn’t know what she was even waiting for. The girl’s matches were over and now only the boys were playing. She had always disapproved of her coach’s training technique, making her train with guys in hope that it would make her better. What nonsense that was.

As Samia sat there observing her surroundings expecting this whole thing to be over soon, ‘this is stupid’, she whispered underneath her breath, ‘What am I still doing here? There’s no way I’m even going to play against anyone here,’ there was a lump in her throat and tears were now forming in her eyes, she took in a deep breath and sat there feeling empty and helpless.

Aly having won was a thought that had crossed her mind over and over, but then…she saw him through the cage of her helmet. He’s getting ready for a match. He still hasn’t played yet she guessed. The next match was his and Omar’s. However, Omar was nowhere to be seen. She heard now how other players were also wondering where he was. They discovered that he didn’t feel well and ran to the bathroom.

Then, a thought entered her mind. A solution to all her problems. It was almost perfect in a way. Omar was a skinny boy, he was strong and fast, but skinny. It seemed to her all the unfair treatment that she had endured had a purpose. Finally, she had a target in front of her eye and that target was Aly.

She gathered all her courage and bottled it up inside her fist, she stood up and stepped on the playing field. Everyone looked at her thinking what she had expected them to think; that she was Omar. She held her hand in the air to indicate that she was ready to begin. The judge asked Aly to step on the field of play as well.

Aly had a cautionary stare at his opponent, like he’d seen a ghost. The two players standing in front of each other could see each other’s faces through the net of their mask. Aly had realized it was her, but strangely didn’t utter a word. She could see that he was speechless seeing her here in front of him, all geared up. His plan hadn’t worked after all. Aly hesitated for a moment and didn’t know what to do. His eyes scanned the people looking, to check if somebody else had noticed, but he was the only one, due to him being so close to her mask. It was clear to Samia that he was nervous now by her presence.

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Finally, she’d done something to throw him off. However, she was still very nervous; what if he would call on her being here and ask her to be thrown out. Surprisingly he had done no such thing, and suddenly, his doubtful expression turned into a mockingly playful one. She had guessed that he thought he would win this match easily then, playing against a girl. A girl he’d always won against in all their matches.

With her sword gripped tightly in her gloved hand, she stepped on the on-guard line and got into position. As if Aly had offered her to dance, they both started launching at each other, like rehearsed steps. They stabbed and retreated, stabbed and retreated.

The transmitter, which was connected to their swords, sent wireless signals whenever once received a point or lost. First to get 15 points was the winner.

Whenever he received a point because of a stupid mistake, she did she bit her lip to hold back a scream of frustration. For fear that they will know she’s actually a girl. She used her anger carefully like an energy passing through her to the tip of her sword, which caught Aly’s jacket every now and then. To defeat a boy she had to launch and think like one. Play dirty, she thought, catch him off guard.

And that she did.

It was 14 to 14. It was a tight match that held everyone, including the trainer, on their toes. Aly was clearly frustrated and slightly exhausted. She imagined his stupid grin if he actually won and that gave her a new boost. This was her last chance. They got into position.

For a moment Samia felt like she wasn’t just playing for herself, but to teach this guy a lesson. ‘Girls are not weak,’ she said gritting her teeth. Not sure if he had heard it or not. The referee’s ‘ale’ gave them leave to start again.

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The moment, as quick as it was, felt like it had gone in slow motion; as she jumped sideways into the air dodging one of his jabs, and while she was still flying her weapon bouncing up and down from the effect, she touched Aly at the top of his left shoulder and the beeping noise of the scoring box sealed her fate. She won.

She leaped in celebration letting out a scream of victory. She took off her mask, sweat dripping all over face, shocking everyone: the audience, the judge, and the sponsor sitting on the bleachers. 

The End