Down flat. On the floor. Knocked out. Cold. Again.
The audience cheers, laughs, screams, claps: another title win for my contender. She’s being dragged back to her corner. Water splashes, side slaps; she’s waking up. Bloodied, bruised and, battered, she stumbles upwards and stands. Lurching forward back into the ring.
‘Fuck it. Again.’
‘You’re insane! Stop the madness! You wont survive the next round!’ My head screams from the sidelines ‘Haven’t you learnt your lesson?’ ‘How many times you gonna do this to yourself?’
Bloodied teeth grin, baring down on the gum guard, ‘Once more’. Eyes bruised closed, seeing through blind faith ‘I believe’. Without a sideways glance to my head for consent, I wince as I watch her throw herself forward into the next round. Ready for more punishment. Trusting that this time, this time, it will be different. Pursuing the ultimate title: the glory of Love.
Practiced, not perfect, repeat failure, she jigs from side to side, light steps, ready for the win. No proof in the pudding, recipe long lost and forgotten but undeniably match ready. Forging past the improbability of success. Unable to sit out more than a round or two. Ever ready. Again. Again. Again!
Because this is what hearts do: they go on.
I live with this ‘Rage, rage against the dying of the light’ heart, enclosed in my chest. I’ve tried to keep her hidden and safe. But despite my desperate human attempts of the logic begging her to stop, my heart will not be muzzled. I can hear her beat in my ears; her punches in my chest: pa punch, pa punch, pa punch. She’s a fighter. My considered thoughts, filter down into this raw swirl of blood and muscle, working overtime to keep me ticking even when I think I cant: ‘keep, moving, do, not, give, up, hope.’ The beat to which my feet carry me into unexpected places.
How did I end up here? Who’s speaking these words from my mouth? Am I really doing this again? My heart is steering my direction and guiding the conversation. It’s like an outer body experience – watching myself be driven by a madman. My heart’s a powerful controller.
How many times must she get it wrong to eventually end this struggle? When will the bitterness freeze this muscle? Let the jadedness set in.
Through the heartache, the pain, the severe bruising: my hearts immune! Doesn’t give up. Keeps fighting, trusting it’s possible: Victory, then rest.
My boxer heart smashes my carefully constructed barriers, my logically defined defenses. The ‘this doesn’t make sense’ doesn’t register with her.
‘Maybe’ ‘Who knows?’ ‘Why not?’ ‘A new approach, taken from a different angle, from here this time’.
A million moves: futile, but a million more to try.
First the worst, second the best, third the one with the hairy chest. Done? No. More: loose count. The failed relationship attempts – irrelevant – she’s learning. The bell rings, signally the new match and she’s up, ready. I’ve barely caught my breath.
My ragamuffin, blind in one eye, limping, boxer heart is about to step back into the ring! Timing, distance, suitability, availability; common fucking sense – do you think that deaf in both ears maniac will hear me?
While I’m hoping to shut her down, with ‘No’, she’s ramming on her gloves, ramping up, bouncing from side to side, grinning with that ‘what you got for me this time? Give me your best shot, I can take it’. I will win this round for you.
So I’ve given up trying to stop her. I’m trying something new. Next time, instead of moaning and yelling ‘please stop’, I’m gonna say ‘fuck it, I’m all in’. Hold up my fan banner and cheer her on. Give her my support. Resistance is futile. The heart wants what the heart wants. And mine is a boxer. She will never give up. She’ll keep fighting until she’s proved the rest of me wrong and is the world champion. Like it or not, in this next round, I’m going to really have to trust her and this time, let Love win.