January 03, 2007

Shadow Boxing

By Nick Cantwell © 2006

Sitting on the beach again. Throwing stones into the blue.
I always come back here. Every time.
Shake myself off and start again.

It started on the morning of the fight.
I was tetchy, obviously – knowing your head is going to hit the canvas is not nice.
But three grand is three grand.
Five hundred people cheering as your knees buckle.
But three grand is three grand.
She said we needed to talk.
We need to talk – she didn't need to tell me what that meant.
Tomorrow. I can't even think about this right now.
She stormed out.
Thanks for your support.
She phoned me before the fight – said sorry.
But we still need to talk right?

Some fights you know you're going to win.
Some fights you know you can't win.
Tonight was the latter.
Up and coming youngster.
I'm the bait. I'm the fall guy.
Tonight they didn't tell me to lose.
They didn't have to.
It lasted five rounds.
Fuck it hurt. Could have got up.
No way was I getting up.
Got badly cut.
Can't fight for three months now.
That fucked me off.
Went out and got off my head.
That was the trouble. I always did that.
Turned up at her place at 4am.
Still off my head.
She said go. Come back tomorrow – sober.
Fuck You.
I pushed past her. Wanted to sort it out here and now.
Get out. Get out now.

I never meant to do it. I never did.
I lost control.
I loved her and didn't want to lose her.
Funny way of showing it.

We met in a Deli. I'd just finished training.
I spilt her coffee as I squeezed my big ass past her table.
I bought her another one.
She asked me what I did.
Boxer I told her.
She looked after kids at a school.
We went out the next night.
Best behaviour – didn't drink.
She said I made her laugh.
Went out again – spent the night.
She told me she didn't like me boxing.
She worried.
I didn't like it when they worried.
It's what I did. It's what I was best at.
I had a drink that night.
Had an argument with some guy about a cab – shoved him out of the way.
That was the beginning.
Four months later – and it wasn't guys I was pushing.
Though it was only ever a push – until tonight.

She went down. No one was counting this time.

I watched her from my car. Wanted to speak to her.
She was still wearing sunglasses.
Three weeks later.
And she was still wearing sunglasses.

I wrote her a letter.
How do you apologise for that?

She wrote back.
She doesn't hate me.
I wish she did.
But she doesn't want to see me.

I always come back here. Every time.
Shake myself off and start again.

Nick Cantwell is a writer from London, England.

No comments: