A Familiar Pain

Sometimes the most painful part of the day is the moment when I first become conscious that I am awake. Lucidity brings the realization that the other side of the bed is empty and the house is silent. The old familiar sounds of the shower running aren't around. I don't hear any activity in the kitchen or any rustling of papers.

No one comes to my side of the bed to kiss my face and tell me that it is time to get up. I don't roll over and find dark eyes staring at me. No arms are wrapped around me. There are no moments of silent spooning where we hold each other and enjoy the bond.

Waking up is hard because in my dreams she is still there and we are still ensconced in our secret world. Now, it is gone and there is an empty hollow feeling.

Emitting a loud groan I roll out of bed. The second most painful part of the day takes place now. When the economy crashed I lost my job. Spent months looking for something, anything, but never did find anything steady. There was the occasional odd job that paid a couple of bucks, but nothing that I could rely upon to pay the bills.

As the savings dwindled and the bills piled upon I became more depressed and more despondent about my plight. It felt like no matter what I tried it was wrong. The harder I pushed the harder life pushed back. There is nothing like getting kicked in the balls unexpectedly, really takes your breath away, but not the way you want.

Good stuff, just great.

If you were here you'd see me shuffling through the house. I wasn't exaggerating about this being the second most painful part of the day. The morning after a fight is always bad. It doesn't matter whether I won or lost. Your body isn't designed to take that sort of beating. Those aches and pains, the bruises and sore muscles are god's way of punishing you for mistreating his property.

At least that is what Jimmy says. Can't say that I really care whether it is true or not. And if it is true then I want to have words with God. I mean really, what the fuck is the deal with throwing your children around, just abandoning like this. So, truth is that I don't believe and it really doesn't matter because fighting pays the bills.

People can talk about how civilized we are. They can spend hours in their comfortable homes and talk wistfully about how barbaric society used to be. I have heard it. I have listened to their rambling diatribes about how bad the Romans used to be, how only animals stage fights etc. I know better.

Because the truth is that there are people paying to see guys like me climb into a ring and go at it. Unfortunately for us we are not fighting at the garden. There aren't trainers and cut men or doctors waiting to help us between rounds.

All we have got is the ring and a bunch of guys who bet on us. I know, some of you think that you know about this. You have seen the movies and you think that there is some sort of syndicate the runs an underground fight ring. In the movies there is always a clear line between the good guy and the villain.

That is not what this is. This is a collection of guys who have slipped between the cracks. Some of us used to carry lunch boxes to work and some of us used to ask our assistants to order a sandwich from our favorite shop. Yep, some of us had expense accounts and lived that fancy sort of life you see or read about.

Now we are just numbers that the government reports as unemployed. There is no brotherhood or camaraderie among us, at least not as far as I am concerned. I don't want to know anything about the other guy beyond whether he can take a punch. All I care about is getting in and getting out.

The crowd likes me because I can take a beating. Every time I get in the ring I pretend that I am part of some medieval battle. I am a knight protecting my castle. That little fiction is what allows me to keep throwing myself into the breach over and over. So far it has worked, but the real question is for how long.

Standing in front of the medicine cabinet I reach inside to grab another handful of Motrin. Bottle says two, but I say six is more like it. Anything less and I won't hardly be able to move. In a little bit the edge will be taken off of the physical pain and all I'll be left with is the familiar pain of her absence.

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