“You hit like a girl.”

I wanted to tell her that
when she came up to the register
with her arm in a cast
because she broke some of her fingers
punching a bouncer at a city bar.

I want to watch the indignation
rise on her face like a rose
as she goes on the defensive
from my perceived insult.

I want to listen to her
read me the riot act
about a bullshit
and sexist comment.

I want to see that look on her face
as I take off my apron,
step around the counter,
and tell her to throw a punch at me.

I want to knock her on her ass
when she throws a full-body punch at me,
and I control her fall
to keep her injured arm safe.

I want to pick her back up
and teach her how to throw a punch.

I want to show her
how to make a fist,
explain why you never
NEVER
put your thumb inside of your fist,
explain that I was taught
to put my thumb on top of my fist,
instead of beside it,
because it makes all the muscles and tendons of your arm
line up like a hammer.

I want to explain to her
how to stand,
how to strike
like a bathroom towel,
like a bolt of lightning.

I want to explain
how you’re supposed to hit
with the first two knuckles of your fist,
how it’s easier to use a makiwara,
a tool used to train calluses,
to harden two knuckles
than it is to harden
the entire face of your fist.

I want to see
the look on her face
when I explain that this
is how you train yourself
to break someone’s bones,
without breaking your own.

And I want to tell her
how I don’t want her to listen
to any of this.

I want to tell her
how I think she punches
like a breaking wave,
how I think it’s beautiful
that she throws everything she is,
her whole heart,
into a full-body punch.
But I tell her anyway
so she’s able to protect herself
while protecting herself.

I said none of this,
of course.

Because I do not know her very well,
and my employers
would not look kindly
on me teaching someone
how to break bones
next to one of their cash registers.

And I wonder if she even needed my help,
if she was already strong enough,
hard enough,
to protect herself already.

And I wonder if she’d appreciate my help,
despite that hardness,
because it means someone cares,
and is trying to take care of her.

So I said none of this.
I just spoke politely,
wished her a good day,
and watched her walk away,
my heart breaking with each
and every
step.

4 Comments

  1. Reblogged this on tripleclicka and commented:
    Reading this gave me a slight feeling of safety, a slight feeling of apprehension, a feeling of wanting to be the girl at the counter, a feeling that I want to be shown, while I have a look of distrust, yet offering the trust anyway, because I do need to know. Need to know how and that someone cares enough, enough to show me, even as I glare at them with some kind of empty warning. Need to know that someone sees, something. I wonder, would the girl at the counter feel the way I do, that someone saw more than she knowingly offered?

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