Pounding Heart

Why do I keep dating him? People often ask.

Inside the boxing gym, it always felt so hot. The closer the ring was, the hotter it felt, with audiences squeezing around the ringside. Most were cheering his opponent, a well-built man, like a soldier, who just threw a punch, and I could see blood spray in slow motion into the air.

“Don’t lose, Hajime!” I yelled.

The game soon turned, and, finally, when the judge gave a bell, signaling the end of the match, he won. He won!

Hajime came to me, his nose all bloody. “I’ll walk you home,” he said.

Whether he won or lost, he always got blood on his face. The next day, I would have to be his witness if teachers asked why he came to school all bruised up.

“One day, I will make the world champion,” he said.

I watched him throwing punches into the air as we walked together. The sweat, mixed with the icy scent of the winter night, evaporated through his high school uniform. Looking at those broad shoulders from behind, I slowed down a bit after we crossed the street. I prayed then and there. My heart could still take it until he made it to his dream because, like tonight, next week and another week after that would be the same.

“See you tomorrow,” he said once we reached my home.

“Hajime,” I called to him. “My parents aren’t home tonight, so would you like to come in? I can make you some snacks.”

Why do I keep dating him? even though it gave my heart no peace.


Because after his fight, our night together is always so good.

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