Your camera roll was filled with videos and images of the two of them watching volleyball together and just to prove that it wasn’t the TV that had your little girl’s interest, you would put on a kids show while she was playing in the kitchen at your feet and then you would get Dabi to change the channel to the sports one and as soon as she heard the telltale squeak of shoes on the volleyball court she would just drop whatever she was holding and crawl as fast as she could towards the lounge room.
You thought it was the funniest and cutest thing ever, but neither you or Dabi could blame her since you both shared a passion for volleyball.
Koemi’s first birthday was coming up, and you had your parents, Rei, the V league team and some of your work friends around to celebrate the day.
There were people going everywhere and at one point you realized you hadn’t seen the birthday girl for a while.
“Mum? Have you seen Koemi? I haven’t seen her for a while…” you asked your mum.
“I saw her with Dabi a few minutes ago?” your mum replied.
“Ah… ok… thanks.” Off your went to look for Dabi, hoping that he had his daughter with him.
You found him with his team watching volleyball on the TV and right in the middle of all the guys, was your little birthday girl with her large grey eyes glued to the screen and her chubby cheeks hanging out a little.
“Oh,” you sighed to yourself as you pulled your phone out of your pocket to take another video to add to the growing collection, “how cute!”
Once you had taken pictures of the unsuspecting group, you called for Dabi’s attention.
“Babe, it’s time to cut the cake,” you said.
“Huh? Oh… yep,” he said, reaching for the remote to pause it.
No sooner had he paused it, Koemi put out her chubby little hand and did the grabbing motion towards the TV while whining urgently for Dabi to put the TV back on again.
“We gotta cut your cake, baby girl,” he announced to her as he slung her over his shoulder while she arched her back and started wailing at being taken away from the TV.
“She’s got her priorities straight,” Fueji laughed as he followed behind Dabi and tried to cheer Ko up, but to no avail.
So that year’s birthday picture had everyone’s smiling faces and little K absolutely bawling her eyes out while sitting in her high chair with a birthday cake within arms reach.
Your girl had always been calm and quiet as a baby, but the older she was getting, the more her little personality was shining through and she had a stubborn side to her (which didn’t surprise you) and at 14 months of age she suddenly found her words and was working tirelessly at stringing them together.
Her first word was ‘dada’ and close second was ‘mama’ and very close third was ‘wowowbow’ which you came to realize was volleyball but she couldn’t quite wrap her little tongue around the ‘V’ letter with the ‘Ls’ in there so it came out as wowowbow.
Wowowbow, was life, wowowbow was what got her up in the morning and wowowbow was what put her to sleep each night.
When she was having an unsettled night and was whingy and clingy and finding it hard to sleep, the only thing that would settle her down was if daddy put her to sleep and played the sounds of his team mates running around during practice earlier that evening.
Fueji, as you have probably suspected, cottoned on to what Dabi was doing- pressing record on his phone and then leaving it sitting on his gym bag, and would get down and whisper messages to Dabi so that your man would get them later that night while he was putting Koemi to sleep.
Amid the squeaking shoes and the sounds of the volleyball being smacked, such messages as ‘Dabi loves cock’ and ‘harder daddy Dabi’ were regular favourited whispered messages that never failed to make Dabi chuckle deeply as he was carrying an almost asleep Koemi around her darkened room, over one shoulder.
“I’m gonna fucking bitch slap him next time I see him,” Dabi grunted as he walked downstairs after putting Koemi to sleep.
“Who? Why?” you asked with only mild concern as you were sitting at the kitchen table doing stocktake for the corner store for the year.
“Hanta. He keeps whispering shit into the mic during practice.”
“You would totally do the same, don’t even try and lie,” you smirked at him over the top of the laptop.
“Yeah… true,” he replied with a devious chuckle.
You shook your head and went back to typing and Dabi walked around to see what you were doing.
“Hey… are you gonna do this for the rest of your life?” he asked.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” you asked, a little defensively.
“I just mean you’re a qualified coach and you’re not even coaching,” he said.
“So? I’m bringing money in… it doesn’t matter.”
“Ok. If that’s what you really love doing then do it but if you wanna be teaching volleyball then nows the time to take action,” he said knowingly before pushing off the table and kissing you on the top of the head and heading to the lounge room.
“Keep the volume down,” you warned, calling out after him, “if Ko hears volleyball on the TV she’ll climb out of her cot and beg to watch it with you.
This was a real threat. You weren’t even playing… as she had done it last week. All you heard was her little voice call out ‘wowowbow!’ And then a soft thump and then the pitter patter of little feet as she toddled from the room and ran to the baby gate at the top of the stairs, calling for daddy to come and get her.
Dabi grunted in acknowledgment and left, leaving you to think about what he had said.
“I just don’t want to go through the hassle of finding some team to coach and then what if I don’t even like the players? I’ve already seen what happened with Dabi and his team and that left a bad taste in my mouth… mind you… it will be a girls team I’m working with. I wouldn’t want to work with a boys team…”
You pondered on things while continuing stocktake and then as it neared 10pm you turned in for the night so you wouldn’t be too tired when Koemi called out for you to get her up at 6am the next morning.