Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The stoop

Micky sat on the stoop watching the street. His right hand still throbbed from the fight. His coach, a tall irishman, had tightened the glove on his hand so tight that it numbed. In the ring the dead hand seemed alive, invincible even. His opponent's face seemed to split open when the right hand smashed into it. Now it throbbed. Micky had iced it after the fight and was considering grabbing another bucket of ice.

"Hey Micky, How'd the fight go? You win or what," shouted the bodaga store clerk from outside his shop. The little bodaga sold small processed food, cigarettes, beer, and milk. A fair amount of the clientele were school children who picked up candy after school. The shop owner would always complain about the children destroying his store.

Micky squinted his eyes and looked out across the street. Seeing the bodaga, and the outline of the shop owner wasn't usually difficult but the sun was in his eyes. In the morning Micky would become light sensitive. The light would curse his blue eyes making him slightly dizzy. As a child he would become nauseous if he was forced to go outdoors too abruptly after waking.

Micky looked down at his right hand. It was a little swollen. He thought that maybe he'd broken a knuckle or two on his opponent's cement head. He sighed and looked down the street. Lined with brownstones the residential area was usually buzzing with activity. At certain hours a calmness would sweep over it. The adults at work, the children at school, the hour still too early for most of the bums to have started loitering in the area.

Contrary to what others think Micky knew that boxing has always been about being hurt, not giving hurt. To move through the pain to triumph - or some sembalance of triumph is the route to real victory. The fight was over but the pain continued. The sensation in his right hand was acute but Micky could feel the other injuries, the bruise on his left rib, the slight laceration under his eye, his swollen nose.

The sky was clear up above and Micky thought about going inside to get another bucket of ice.

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