Writing practice, June 5 2015

She throws a punch and it lands where she wants. She doesn’t feel like a fighter so much as an archer. It’s so hot under the lights, those big arena blowouts, she doesn’t register impact in her knuckles, the skin of her opponent, the adrenaline emptying out. She’s just hot. The sweat on her is light sweat, not fight sweat.

She jumps back, leaning on her left heel, the farthest party of her from her opponent. She escapes. Her opponent wasn’t phased. Her first punch was true, but it was just one. And when she saw how little her opponent moved, her next move had to be retreat. Her heels worked for her. They balanced her enough inches away from an attempt on her mask.

She did not want to be punched. But she did not want to be punched so much as to avoid the fight. Avoiding the punch was its own reward. It meant points on a board, which came with its own priority set, but in boxing the impetus is so personal. Fewer hits from her opponent meant her face hurt a measure less. Imagine your face now, not hurting. You, like her, would do just about anything to maintain that feeling.

How many times did she have to punch her opponent? This was the question she had hoped one punch would answer. One punch didn’t answer anything. The question now unfortunately became, how many punches before she knew how many punches? This was an odd question. It alluded to a nightmare scenario: She might never know the answer. She might punch this woman across from her with all she has. She might be down to her last punch and still not know. This is the most dreadful part of a fight. She had hit her with a proud force, found fine purchase, and was only left with the knowledge that her power wasn’t enough to even unlock a potential end.

She was afraid to throw another punch.

June 5, 2015