“You just can’t.” My dad said as I finished wrapping white tape around his gargantuan knuckles, “Not until you take a hit yourself.”
I finished, dropped the hand to grab his left, started to wrap at the edge of one of the many bruises that colored his flesh. “C’mon man, you saw to it that I got my share of lumps.” I got a little tighter than was necessary as I continued, “You didn’t forget.” I finished, let that hand drop too.
He tried to separate his fingers, smiled cause he couldn’t. “Well I do get hit in the head a lot but…” An incredible force, trained from years of blunt force traumas, slammed onto my shoulder. “No, I didn’t. You never got hit as hard as I could-”
“I fucking hope not.” I muttered.
“Don’t act like I hit you for no reason.”
“You went out of your way to announce some as ‘general purpose beatings’.”
My dad laughed, released his grip on me, walked over to the speedbag and whacked the water drop leather; it ricocheted more than a few times. “Reason behind those is life does it too. What, you’re complaining ‘bout things being too hard? You’re here now, the fuck is the point in that?”
FIVE MINUTES BEFORE THE BELL
A voice boomed through the place’s P.A. system and shook the thin locker room walls.
“Nahnahnah,” I shook my head and hands, “That’s not it. I’ll get those.” I jumped from my seat, collected his gloves and wriggled them over his hands. I’d planned to say more but got lost in the illustrations of his oversized mittens for the millionth time in my life.
He smiled at me, had always loved that I loved them; I shoved his mouthpiece between his lips to stop the smirk that reminded me of me. “Paosbud.” He spit the plastic out, “You know I don’t need that thing.” A moment of silence, then, “I am sorry if I ever hurt you- wasn’t my intention.”
“It definitely was.” I stood. “And really I gotta thank you for that.” I waved for him to join me, he did, we both jogged in place, shadowboxed a training pattern, him jabbing me dodging, like we always did before fights.
“Why fuck my mind up before my last fight?” He asked and I took one on the chin.
“No, man,” I stopped moving, “I’m trying to explain myself. I wasn’t happy growing up the way I did, you made life livable not easier to live through; coming from a nightmare made me have to take any good I can get.
No matter how I end up, how I get there, you toughened me up; made sure I’ll be good. “ I had to dodge another punch, “It’s taken me awhile to realize, but I love you for that.”
The bell rang and my dad stepped through the ropes same time as a clock with arms and legs; his lefts were vicious but no man’s swing can shatter the glass of time.