EPISODE 4 – Finale

Rounds pass without recognition…a blur. And, as in our lives, pain exists only when we have time to recognize it.

Back in my corner…last round. Faces press in…., they ask, “How do you feel?”

I’m losing a pound-and-a-half of body weight every ten minutes. There’s a hand-held camera in my face and a microphone between my legs. My lip is bleeding, and there’s swelling under my left eye. Twenty feet away, another man sits contemplating how to make me fall unconscious. The crowd screams for my blood. And to top it all…I’m wearing almost nothing!
How do I feel?

“All right.”

“We need this last round!” my corner cries above the roar…but I know I’m ahead.

The round-card girl struts by, a huge 10 held over her head. I rise off my stool and peer over a sea of blood-stained canvas. “I win,” the voice still drums…we are at match point.

My body is weary. Little remains unspent, and yet what remains, I will scrape and claw from the depths…squander in these final three minutes….but I cannot allow him to steal a bounty, the taste is already sweet.

In the twitch of the timekeeper’s wrist, it’s over….and with the final bell, an embrace.

This man, who has tormented me through sleepless nights…whose very presence almost relieved me of my breakfast hours earlier…who, seconds ago, I so desperately tried to harm…an embrace? Yes, and few you will find more true.

Never is the unity of things clearer than for us who have stood…and fought…for division. On a canvas stage we have bared ourselves in search of victory. The game is over now. Our roles complete. Our unity never more compelling. The flame has been extinguished and the heat has subsided. We have survived. The celebration is human.

I am announced the victor. My hands rise above my head…my eyes glare out into the crowd. My legs quiver from fatigue. It is adrenaline that holds me aloft and carries back to my dressing room. They’re tapping me on the back, touching my head and shoulders. In voices that sound to be part laughter, part relief, they cry “Good fight!”

My bandages are cut away, and my hands return to normal duty. I’m back in my dressing room, but it has undergone a transformation. The curtains that were bars of a cell…now have flowers on them…beauty unnoticed before.

My elbows rest on my knees. My unbandaged hands hang between my shins. My head floats, and sweat falls onto the backs of my fingers. It is finished…now only peace.

No longer in search of refuge, my heart ceases to search for Somewhere…Somewhere has become here…and with no place to venture, my heart finds rest and resolution…grows quiet. Dear God, thank you.

I look up. “Have you ever felt this?” I feel it so deeply. But instead, the words come out, “Jimmy, when do we go again?”

– END –