Short of breadth he could barely focus on the task at hand as he sat down. His legs were screaming at him to let them rest. Why did you even want to do this? He asked himself as he gathered his energy for the next round. As the crowd jeered and called out suggestions as to what he should do he could only see his coach standing before him. The man he was facing was in a distant silhouette. “You got this! Just stay calm, remember what we trained for” he whispered calmly. He wiped the blood from his nose. This moment was taking everything he had fantasized in his dreams and amplified it beyond his reach. His shoulders heavy, and his hands almost numb while his mind focused on getting the quiet rage to awaken yet again. It was a type of rage not at anything specific but to summon the human soul to howl at the world around him. “Come on Ignacio!” He said to himself. “What are you doing?! Can’t you see it? The world is right in front of you and you can only show it this much?” As his mind suddenly flashed to a memory of simpler days.
“You ready for another patrol Ignacio?” said Thomas.
“Yeah, I’m getting kind of tired of sitting here” As Igancio got up from his chair to grab a radio.
“You think we’d finally see something after so many nights here right?” said Ignacio.
“Well you never know, I know last week a coyote passed by on the monitor” Thomas answered.
He buzzed his way out the door to start his routine patrol. He walked along the corridor to the sound of his own footsteps. The ambiance of fluorescent lights seemed to have a soothing effect on him when walking alone. Most people find this kind of job boring to be just a security officer. You spend eight hours a day sitting or standing around to observe and report but never act upon. He used this time to think of things like recent or stored memories, friends and mistakes he’s made over the years. From time to time he called in where he was at during the mile long patrol around the building. As he buzzed in he could hear his coworkers Netflix episode in the background. “Sunday morning…..rain is falling…” He sang to himself out loud. He was always quiet but when he was by himself that’s when he really started to talk. They say your mind makes more noise when it’s quiet. Perhaps it’s the fact that you can say anything you want and not be held back by judgement. Ignacio was always trying to do the right thing. Never wavering and never taking risks. He had developed a safe way of living over his short lifetime, to feel but never felt, to see but never focus, and to stay one step behind the invisible line he had created for himself. Although in his fantasies, he longed to soar above the rest and to be the center of attention for a change. In many ways he knew he wasn’t strong enough to say the things he wanted to say. If he did, he thought them too late and the moment had passed. “I should have said, are we ever really ready Thomas?” He whispered out loud cracking a faint smile at his own amusement. Being heavy-set for his height he thought back to the days when he was thinner. “I used to run a mile every day just to prove I could” he said. “What happened? Did I just stop caring? Man… I got to find something to work for again”
As he passed the boiler room there stood a reflection near the door in the glass window. He was well aware of his weight but never took the time to look at himself. He had grown a double chin with a permanent frowning face. His eyes dull from being unaware for so long almost struck him by surprise. The thick glasses that steamed up from the heat. In his mind he looked a lot better. “Who is this? This looks nothing like me!” He thought as anger began to boil over in his heart. His mind raced to find some excuse to what he was looking at. Perhaps works been hectic, family issues, and schools workload too heavy. In the moment yet again he could not find anything. He had to face reality.
“Why’d you want to start this anyway?” Mike said calmly as he wrapped his hands in bandage around his knuckles. Ignacio became enthralled in the experience of learning to box. His hands were wrapped as if he was part of a martial arts movie and he felt empowered to take on the world at any given moment if it looked at him the wrong way. “I want to lose weight” He said shyly as he stood there in amazement and fear of the unknown. He wanted to know what true strength looked like. To have the power and choosing not to use it if the situation didn’t demand. To protect those he truly cared about. Although all of these points were in his mind, he could only muster up enough courage to say a half-hearted reason. “Hey, that’s all I need, stick with it and we’ll get you in shape in no time” said Mike as he turned on his radio. “Ok so let’s start with the basics and move our way up, let me see your stance” he said to Ignacio.
As the months passed by, they continued to train in secrecy. Never telling anyone where he went on Wednesday afternoons before his shift. He hadn’t a need to since no one ever asked and yet sometimes he wished someone did. He had a million excuses and alibi’s ready in his mind. “You know Ignacio…you’ve been losing a lot of weight” Thomas says as he sat there with his arms crossed noticing Ignacio looked differently from what he believed he looked like months ago. “I don’t know, but you seem happier too” As he noticed the different hairstyle and look of self-awareness in his eyes. They were no longer wanly and discontent. The kind of eyes that gleam back at you and makes you know there is a soul yearning inside. Unwavering, and yet in a gently fashion they tell you I too am strong, but kind.
Suddenly the mind erases the memories as the ten second bell rings.
“Here we go!” Mike calls out as he helps Ignacio up. His hands were still heavy. His mind raced as he tried to forget the pain. Briefly he looks down at his red gloves, raises them and give himself a tap on the forehead. His trunks were splattered with blood. He intensified his feelings. He felt light as his heart was bursting through his chest. Every muscle ached and yet he loved the feeling. I’m invincible! He thought as he tapped his gloves together. He starts to smile as excitement rushes through his mind. The bell rings. Ignacio flutter steps forward as he puts his hands up. Time slows down again and his breathing begins to be the only thing he’s focused on. “I’m Invincible” He mumbles. He grits his teeth as the first punch is wildly thrown.