The Fighter

ONE..TWO…

He hears the crowd roar, camera lights flashing non-stop.  Bright banners supplying an explosion of colour.  He hears the voices of the commentators jabbering through the speakers.

That last right hook, straight across his cheek, filled his face with agony and sent him flying across the arena, lifting him of the ground and dumping him hard on the plank wood floor.  He remembered his face turning in slow motion, spewing blood and spit in a wide arc.  He lies motionless, rigorously breathing through broken ribs and a shattered nose.  His body, a bag of pain, his mind screaming for the torture to stop, to just lie still and give up.

THREE…FOUR…

The crowd is getting more excited with every passing second.  The energy in the arena hangs like heavy mist in the air.  He consider his options.  Fight or flight?  He lifts his head and the crowd reacts.  Through a swollen black eye his sees his coach, motioning and shouting for him to get back up again.  To stand and fight.  But he is tired.  He has been fighting forever.  He needs rest.  He needs to recover.  His muscles ache.  He drops his head again.

FIVE…SIX…

The relentless counting of the referee doesn’t stop, doesn’t slow down.  Never allowing him time to wait, to surface from the dark water and catch his breath.  But the counting is sealing his fate, will proclaim victory for his opponent.  His mind races.  Would he make another round?  Will he be able to last another minute?  After so many rounds of bashing and thrashing, it might be easier to give up.

His lifts his head once again and tries to focus on the spectators.  The cut from his left brow has stopped bleeding but it has swollen so excessively, he can’t.  He knows that they are out there, cheering him on.  Everyone is on his side.  He screams at his legs to move, for his tired arms to grab the ropes, to pull himself up.

SEVEN…EIGHT…

He gets on one knee, standing motionless in prayer.  He lifts his head from his chest and tries to find familiar faces.  They are all there, family, friends, co-workers, acquaintances.  But he is looking for one specific person, then he finds her.  The soft blue-green eyes of his beloved.  Eyes filled with tenderness and understanding.  Eyes filled with encouragement, reflecting a crying heart for the pain and suffering he is going through.  Telling him it will be alright.  Telling him that the moment will pass, that everything will be ok again.  Telling him that giving up is not an option.  And he tries to get up and fall…

NINE…

He turns his head and watches his opponent, standing with strong arms raised, waiting.  And there is pity in his eyes.  Regret for the ordeal that he is putting the fighter through.  Not gloating, not happy, just waiting in anticipation to continue with the fight.  The fighter remember her eyes, he hears the screams, and he gets up, raise his arms and tighten his fists, slightly off-balanced on shaky legs, milliseconds before he would hear TEN.  But he never does.

Instead he hears the bell ring.

And he can rest, he can regroup, time to take refreshments, to get some advise from his coach, to recharge.  And he shakes his head and smiles, knowing that if he stayed on that floor, the match would have been won. By getting up, he allowed himself another chance.  He understands that it doesn’t matter what punches Life might still throw at him, with courage, attitude, persistence and a little bit of luck, he will survive.  He will stand strong on the shoulders of everyone in his corner.  And with his wife by his side, he can never give up.

And that my friends are the days of our lives…

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