As I slowly went through the motions of a hip bump sweep, I began talking about the beginning of my fall from grace. How I got into a car accident a year ago, how I lost the motivation to keep fighting, and how I ended up here.
I couldn’t say everything, nor did I want to, but I said enough to satisfy his curiosity at least. Honestly, I had only planned to share a little in hopes of scaring him off but as I kept talking, I couldn’t stop.
I looked up at the ceiling once I had finished, thinking back on everything that had happened and what my next steps are.
I want to keep fighting until I can’t anymore.
After a few more awkward silences and a lot more of throwing Lucas around, the class ended and the club prepared to switch over to Muay Thai while the new recruits took a water break. Even through the adrenaline pumping throughout my blood, I could feel my muscles crying out and knew I needed to leave.
Without saying anything, I slipped out the creaky door, using the bustle of the class to hide the noise, and made my way down the long hallway. Just as I thought I was in the clear, I heard a familiar voice call out from behind me.
“Hey!” Lucas yelled, running after me as I was leaving.
Normally I wouldn’t mind chatting after class, but I wasn’t feeling well and just wanted to be alone.
Once he had caught up and started talking, I repeatedly gave him short and dry answers in an attempt to leave as soon as possible but he wouldn’t budge. Finally, as I was turning to leave, he grabbed my shoulder, causing me to grimace from the pain.
“Wait! Just one more thing!” He pleaded.
“Fine, what?” I said, exhausted, hoping that this truly would be the last thing.
“What’s your number?” He asked, smiling, standing up straighter as he spoke.
The sudden confession was blindsiding, causing me whiplash between the situation and the pain across my body. As I was about to respond, I made brief eye contact with him again, causing me to have doubts.
“Why do you want it?” I asked, looking away and towards my pocket where my phone was resting.
“Obviously if we’re going to be friends, I need your number!” Lucas announced proudly, “on top of that, I need to know which socials and classes you’ll be going to for MMA so I can be sure to attend.”
I should’ve known.
Those innocent eyes couldn’t have been so overtly forward and bold about something like that. I turned away from him in embarrassment for misunderstanding while reaching into my pocket.
I guess this couldn’t hurt.
I opened my phone up to the “New Contacts” screen and held it backwards towards Lucas, still not facing him.
“Don’t make me regret this, Lucas.” I mumbled, allowing him to put in his info before promptly leaving the venue.
By the time I had made it to my room, my entire body was aching in pain. I could barely remember the walk back to my dorm after I gave Lucas my number. I put a hand on my shoulder where he had grabbed me and sighed to myself.
I made my way to the bathroom, ripping my sweat-soaked rash guard and spats off in the process, and hopped into the shower. The cold water, although abrasive at first, felt nice on my muscles. After I showered and finished my routine, I passed out on my bed, not even bothering to look at the time.
When I woke up, a bright light pierced my pupils once again, but this time not from the sun. The world outside my room was dark; I had simply forgotten to turn off my lights before falling asleep. I spent what felt like an eternity searching for my phone before finding it in my dirty shorts from the day before.
When I finally managed to check the time, I saw that it was four in the morning. The only force that could push me through the aching of my body was the primal hunger I felt. After devouring everything I had left in the kitchenette, I settled down at my computer, now fully awake.
I quickly checked the itinerary for the rest of the week, making sure there was nothing of importance for the day, before locking my door and taking the rest of the day off with my games and shows.
As Thursday rolled around, I had a few responsibilities to take care of, such as some meetings with professors from my major, but once again I stayed inside and spoke to no one.
It wasn’t until around five that night that I had any real social interaction with anyone my age in the form of a text message.
“Hey Cole, this is Lucas from mma!” The message read from an unknown number.
I paused my game mid-level and went to update my contacts, receiving another message while doing so.
“I was just wondering if you would be going to the mma social tomorrow? its at a local pub and Id prefer if I wasn’t the only newbie lol”
I looked at my phone screen for a moment of contemplation before replying quickly.
I sighed as I put down my phone. The game I was playing no longer interested me and I quit out to sleep early.
I just don’t like people.