Bruised Knuckles & Intangible Things
“Hey man, how long have you been here?”
“Oh hey, you mean…here?”
“Oh no no, I meant, the area. I was wondering how long you have trained.”
“Well, haha, uh, I’ve been around town for several years, but I’ve barely started doing this. Recreational.”
“Really?? I watched you some, you don’t look like you’re new to this at all.”
“Beginner’s luck; I guess anyone could look good doing this.”
“Dude…quit downplaying, you’ve got a tremendous punch. The bag’s flying all over the place.”
“Oh I mean, I just do this for fun.”
“You are powerful, but when you throw your punches, you’ve got no guard—ever thought about more professional training?”
“Not really…I just haven’t been looking.”
“Hey, you’re welcome to train at the boxing gym I go to. Just tell them Neil sent you here, and they’ll let you in for free.”
“Thanks, I’ll try to swing by when there’s a chance.”
It would have been nice to equip yourself with more proper techniques, but you never did found your way to that gym. The whole thing started out more as an escape than anything else. You’re not too entirely fascinated with learning the most efficient ways to take down another man, perhaps to even fatally wound him. It could be useful, but there’s always another time for that.
You only wanted to feel the intimate aches of your own flesh and bones.
In the earlier days, when you’d been less conditioned, you’d take off the wraps, and the four protruding notches at the end of each fist would be scarlet red, numb, and coarse—their finer skin covers scraped into a sandpaper-like texture. Then the next morning, they’d be purple, nearly transparent, staining the native color of their once undamaged skin; they agonized your senses upon contact with anything remotely firm. And then there were your busted wrists—must have been the straining of their ligaments, which led to more severe consequences: you were banned from simple tasks such as turning door knobs and holding on to shopping bags, among countless other things that required turning of the wrists. For months on end, your wrists were barely more than useless.
In the earlier days, in was easy to achieve what you wanted out of it. A tangible hurt, the kind that overpowered everything else you had felt. It was a solution, a desperate but effective measure. It pained constantly and brought forth inconveniences, but it felt good, absolutely, to be outwardly broken.
But the body, the body is too perfectly efficient. It adapts, hardens in response to former abuses and injuries. Time after time, it took longer, and more, to leave yourself wounded, until one day, no matter how vicious your lefts pounded and how sharp your rights bit, you were to walk away with nothing but sweat, fatigue, and exhaustive breaths to catch.
You wanted to, but ultimately desired not to project, translating your needs into the swollen face and cracked ribs of another man. You cannot step into a ring of any kind and spar with another; it’d be too tempting to turn him into the outlet that was once yourself. There are other ways to drown out the intangible hurts.