A perfect shot! The arrow perfectly hit the centre of the centre circle.
Determined, she walked the ten yards to the next target.
Repeat applause. Repeat bullseye. Repeat applause.
Seventy-two-year-old Marigold was a legend in the making. She aimed her arrows as well as anyone in their youth, or from any age.
She learned the art of archery at summer camp in her youth at Lake Tukaram. And practiced shooting darts in her parent’s basement with precision, time and time again. During university she was unable to join the archery team due to her coursework, and her boyfriend Hank. But mainly because she was a woman. However, Marigold snuck into the range and practiced. Once she began working to earn enough money, she continued to master her skill at the archery range and was ranked at the top of the seniors list. Anyone over thirty was considered ‘senior.’ Participating in the Olympics was not in her lifetime she felt.
Her heart raced every time she watched the sport or released an arrow from her bow. It didn’t matter the make or model of arrow or arrowhead. A typical arrow usually consisted of a long, stiff, straight shaft with a weighty sharp and pointed arrowhead. The feel of releasing that arrow, and watching it hit mid centre made her smile.
Then at sixty-nine years of age, she required cataract surgery, and got trifocal lenses. And a miracle happened. Her precision shooting became close to 100 hundred percent. And her shooting range featured her in their local newsletter, which caught onto the local newspapers and then went national.
She was called, “The Senior Archer.” And she posed beside an apple consisting of a drawn on grid. She shot dead centre on that with her arrow.
A wealthy member of her archery club offered to sponsor Marigold on her seventieth birthday. A sponsorship for the Olympics. Humming, and hawing she decided to accept this offer and began to train for the Olympics. Her husband had passed, and she was estranged from her only child. She had nothing to lose.
Now she was trying out for the Olympics. A spot for the summer Olympics in the city of Pamplona. A city known for the Running of the Bulls (Feast of San Fermin).
It also reminded Marigold of her favourite Ernest Hemingway novel, The Sun Also Rises. She loved the story of a group of American and British expatriate friends who went to Pamplona for the running of the bulls and the bullfights. Hemingway’s descriptions about the bulls running through the streets passed through her thoughts frequently when the summer Olympics in Pamplona were announced.
It was a sign from the Universe. Even a gift from God she thought. Something new to her, as she was not known to be a spiritual woman. She couldn’t deny the timing of this event.
Now was back in the present moment for her final shot, for her so-called spot.
Bullseye. She achieved 100 percent precision for the qualifying rounds.
Applause. And then silence. The judges needed time to confer.
Marigold thought back to the book, the characters all living their passion, reliving their youth as they are enjoying eating, drinking, making love in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. She felt her youth had been lost to the practicalities of life. The demands of the real-world. If only she had applied for an archery scholarship. If only such things existed back in those days, especially for women.
She prayed to god for the first time since her youth. She thanked him for her life, and the chance to relive her youth and be a symbol of resilience for women around the world. Especially for women considered to be past their prime. She wanted to be a role model.
And so, she prayed. For her moment in the sun.
The judges had rendered a decision, the results were read.
Marigold would be going to the Olympics. Turns out her sun was also rising.