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A story by M
I had trouble sleeping that night and as result, I was having trouble focusing next day. However, I was in cloud 9. I was finally getting in with Baptiste. There was no talking between us at the breakfast table but that didn't kill my spirits. Finally after 10, we headed to the gymnasium. Baptiste didn't take the same route.
We walked in the trees for a while, he said it was nice and I agreed.
"I take it you're not much of a talker"
"I don't have anything good to say" he told me. "You never talked to me, either"
I came to a momentary halt looking at him confusedly but it passed and I kept walking.
When we made it to the gym, we passed a couple of policemen and a colored man, being interrogated. Back then, you saw something like that, it was none of your business. I entered the gym anxiously looking round for Roy.
He wasn't there.
"Where's the kid?" I asked the grimy old man from before.
He looked me up and down and said nothing. Baptiste put his hand on my shoulder and I remembered I was here to have a real match.
My first match ever.
I'd never punched anybody, except for a snob kid back in the orphanage and he deserved it. I rarely ever got in any fights to say, but Baptiste, he had a few scraps to talk about.
To say that I was very nervous would be an understatement. There were other guys starting to converge around the ring and I was new meat as some of them said. The navy man from the other day was there too and his eyes were sizing me up as I stood there trying to remember the basics.
The match began shortly after Baptiste said so. He started off pretty easy on me, I'd say. I even got to hit him once—or twice. He smiled and looked at me and said
"Not bad..." then he really started coming on to me, with energy.
I remember the figured in the book Roy had lent me; I did as best as I could but when I hit the mat from a blow to the side of my brow, I started to understand what I'd gotten into. I winced and wriggled and Baptiste stopped and looked worried—all the guys looked worried too. I finally got to sit up, and felt something warm dripping from my brow. Blood.
"This is great..." I shook my head and looked up at Baptiste. His blue eyes were on me.
"You sure you can keep up?"
After a beat, I nodded bravely. I wasn't going to go down so embarrassingly fast. He held his hand down at me (he fought without any gloves!) and I took it and was back on my feet.
Once I got up, we resumed the match—my heart pounding in my ears. Jabbing, blocking, feeling the sting of sweat on my wound, I loved every second of feeling his stony fists hit my skin, of smelling his sweat when we locked.
Boxing IS a lot like dancing to no music, but you get bruised and bleed.
We were in the ring for half an hour before I had to call it a match, I was HURTING, but I was pleased with myself. Baptiste threw a towel at me and laughed.
"You're not half bad, Thomas" and he put his arm around my shoulders and pulled me close, laughing still.
I was having a great time yet...I needed to see what was up with Roy.
Sorry for being away for so long! College is really demanding and I started working from 3-9 pm so I have very little free time!