“Royal Confidence” by Andrew, Paris

Love and Heartbreak July 14, 2011 00:35


Matthew Seamus Fantsy grew up in a leafy neighbourhood of Boston. His parents were right
off the boat, they had come to America like so many generations of Irish before them. Their
brogues became softer and softer with the rising tides of their real estate business. And yet,
they would never quite disappear. Matthew, a clever enough boy, must have realized soon
enough that he was a skillful ice hockey player. As he grew and developed, so too did his
confidence. His team mates admired him and Matthew became “Matt”. Then because
everybody, and two of his cousins were named “Matt”, coaches took to calling him
“Fanz”. When his name started appearing in sports sections of the Boston newspapers,
confidence and pride were in no short supply. The young star single-handedly won games for
his team and perhaps for this reason someone dubbed him “The King”. Perhaps it was Fanz
himself. I wouldn’t have been surprised.
Whoever started this appellation, The King loved it. I met him in college. He had dark hair,
bright eyes and a sly smile. Like many of us on the team, he was neither tall nor short and was
in fine physical form. Unlike the majority, he exuded an air of confidence that bordered on
arrogance. Women were drawn to him. There was nothing quite like summing up the courage
to talk to a co-ed, feeling like the conversation was headed somewhere, only to have her say
dreamily : “You play hockey ? Do you know The King?”
I knew The King. In the oh-so public sphere of the private team dressing room, I’d seen him
in his emperor’s new clothes. He was noble. But others were even more aristocratic. His
popularity grew from the first years to the last two, as he rose to the top to the social pecking
order. One day a room mate’s steady girlfriend wistfully said to her beau : “You know, The
King’s not the hottest, or the most successful guy on campus but there’s just something about
him.” Other men just couldn’t understand. It all came crashing home for me when my parents
met him and my mother called me the next day. As we were hanging up, she said :
“That Matthew Fantsy is so nice and handsome!”
My mind reverberated with a, “Mom, how COULD you?”. She had just unwittingly placed
the crown on his oh-so unhumble head. Confidence, like royalty and royal blood ; you either
have it, or you don’t.

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