BY Surrendering Everything
You Can Have It All
The champ staggered to the corner at the end of round ten. His legs were weak and wobbled by the intense beating he had received for the past six rounds. That he was still able to stand was entirely amazing, and leg strength to a boxer is like the need for sails on an America’s Cup boat. The bloody pulp of flesh that were once his eyes, and the vacant, catatonic gaze through which Trevor Kelley saw the world go by, told the story in High definition, graphic detail.
He was finished.
This was the most watched Heavy Weight Championship bout in the history of professional boxing. It was beamed into sold out stadiums, arenas, auditoriums, sports bars, and private homes that paid a pretty penny for the luxury of witnessing this once-in-a-lifetime spectacle from the comfort of their own family rooms. And every person in the world watching this titanic duel unfold, knew the same thing. It was only a matter of time and how much of a pummeling the Champ could take.
It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Certainly, the challenger had earned his shot at the title by way of a thus-far unbeaten record, but everyone knew he was not really this good, this powerful. But Cadillac Jones (where in the hell did he ever get that name “Cadillac,” anyway? His name was Rory)was a bruising freight train of a man who punched with the impact of a suitcase nuclear weapon!
Using a brilliant strategy and an endless supply of relenltless driving energy, he took the champ’s best shots and launched fierce counter attacks with pinpoint precision and brutal deadly force. He fought like a man possessed.
Amid the throng of screaming fans, the cornermen frantically working under minute time restrictions to prep him for the next round, and a dedicated trainer trying with everything he had to make sense of what was going on, Trevor felt amazingly alone. It was as though time had suspended itself and each split second felt like an excruciating eternity.
He was alone with a tidal wave of thoughts, each one a brilliantly clear, three dimensional picture standing in stark relief from all the others. The intense pain that exploded against the outer limits of his battered body seemed to subside as he watched the parade of pictures go by.
Trevor had heard that people who were about to die had the amazing experience of seeing their entire life flash before heir eyes. Everything they had ever experienced was right there in front of him for one single, intensely profound instant. Strangely enough, he was not afraid of dying. Somehow it seemed like he was dying little by precious little, ever since the day he was born. In retrospect, he could remember having that very same impression, that he was slowly ceasing to exist, at other times in his life. But it was always just an impression, never really coalescing into an actual thought located in his conscious mind.
On the conscious level, he had always seen himself as living a wonderful life. Or had he?What was that pang of doubt that just flashed by? After all, he had everything money could buy, and more of it than nearly anyone else. And if he didn’t have it, there were any number of people around him that he could simply direct to go out and buy it. He had a lifestyle that was the envy of the entire civilized world. Didn’t he?
Why was everything suddenly so confusing? He couldn’t remember ever having been uncertain, especially not at the level he was currently experiencing. From a very early age he had found a way to accomplish nearly everything he wished to achieve. No mater what, there was always a goal, always something to drive for and always a way to get it. It never really seemed to matter to Trevor how seemingly insurmountable life’s obstacles seemed to be.
He always had his imposing physical strength and finely tuned single-mindedness of purpose to draw on. They were available to him n abundance and he always used them to go though anything or anyone foolish enough to get in his way. It was a dog eat dog world and he wasn’t about to get eaten by another dog. Besides, didn’t everyone live like this.?
Every once in a while, the incessant oar of the crown invaded his private and very distant reverie. He experienced the nois, which to all others present was quite deafening, as a sort of dull squeezing sensation on the top of his head. He was also very much aware of a light breeze caressing his cheeks, the unique odor of the boxing ring filled his nostrils, and he could even pick out the individual faces of various spectators.
Sitting in his corer, he was conscuous of of the movements o the people around him, he felt the pressure of his feet on the mat, and he could hear the voice of his trainer somewhere off in the distance, urging him to fight for a knockout in the eleventh round. Yet, time moved not forward for Trevor Kelley, and the pictures came at a furious pace.
He watched his pictures come and go as though he was watching a movie. At times, he even had the curious sensation of watching himself watch the movie. Suddenly he was struck by something else that seemed very odd. He had always imagined himself to be a particularly popular guy. People always seemed to want to hang around with him. They laughed at his jokes, came to his parties, and he went to theirs. His was a very active, somewhat hectic life, constantly surrounded by crowds of people and rushing from one event to the next.
But there it was, he could see himself standing in the middle of a group of people. Then he could see himself standing in the middle of every group of people with whom he had ever associated. Each and every time his reaction to the picture in his head was exactly the same. He felt agonizingly alone.
Surely there were people around. His wife and children were there, His parents, trainer, brothers and sisters, various and sundry friends and relatives, all were there. in fact, everyone he had ever known were there. But that feeling of monumental insignificance, of not really mattering to anyone, that feeling that he has been running away from facing for his entire life, that feeling would not go away.
It began as a dull ache in the pit of his stomach and spread in an ever rising crescendo until it filled every single micro-organism of his being, finally threatening to explode right through the top of his head. No matter what he did, he could not rid himself of this terrifying monster that had invaded his very heart and soul. What was this thing anyway? What was it that he was experiencing? He remembered now that it was always there but he had not paid it the slighted interest, but at this moment, sitting in his corner between rounds ten and eleven, having been battered and bloodied by a no-talent upstart, it was all he had. And then he was able to identify exactly what the interior monster was. It was lonliness and fear: Aching, horrible, devastating, deep, dark and dreary, lonlinness and fear.
He was alone in his corner, the only corner of the world that he had ever felt comfortable in. He suddenly realized that even the corner did not belong to him. He knew all he really had, the sum total of what he owned in the entire world, was that which lived inside his own skin. Abject lonliness and fear gripped him with force more powerful than the sum total of every hook, jab, counter punch and uppercut that ever landed on his body. And he now understood that these feelings had always been there to some degree. And he wondered if any of the other people in his pictures felt the same way.
An then a question popped into his altogether too tired mind. At first it appeared away off in the deep distance, as though atop a far off mountain. And as he watched the question come closer and closer, he realized that this had all happened before. It was deja vu all over again, just like Yogi Berra once said. Each time the question appeared, Trevor was able to successfully avoid it by immediately shifting his focus onto something else.
This time it was different. As it drew nearer and nearer, it gained strength, form and substance, until it came to rest finally, squarely in the middle of his still heaving chest.
So what is it that I am really fighting against, came the question from deep inside. Has my fight really been against all the opponents I have ever met in the ring and mercilessly beat into submission? Or has it been against something more obscure and eminently more powerful than an adversary I can actually see? Am I driving toward my goals and dreams, or am i engaged in a flight from something else? If so, what could it ever be?
Somehow the soon to be ex-champion instinctively knew where the answers lived. He also knew that the answers would not come to him today and that the questions would never again leave him until they had been satisfied with an adequate response. He wanted to answer the questions because he wanted to hear the truth.
Little by little he drifted back into consciousness, to the sights and sounds of a world turned upside down. Deep down inside he knew hat he was finished, that he would never see the inside of a boxing ring agin as long as he lived. He knew he just couldn’t do it anymore. He had finally met a force that, no mater what he did, he could not overcome. This force of nature called Cadillac Jones had shown Trevor to himself and he was terrified. Boxing was his life. All he ad ever done was fight. But now he strongly suspected that boxing was just a smaller part of a much larger fight.
And the noise from the crowd grew louder and louder. His trainer and cornermen were pleading with him to give it one more shot. Suddenly, his uncontrollable shaking gave way to a wave of calm and inner peace, the likes of which he had never before experienced. An incomprehensible peace flooded his entire being and, for one brief instant, he was one with all the world. His lifelong struggle against the dark and evil clouds that would close in on him if he did not move fast enough, was over. Finally, he realized that over this particular challenger, and all others to follow hi, he was powerless. He knew he was beaten long before this but he had been terribly foolhardy and ignored all the signposts.
Suddenly, the two most powerful words ever uttered by Trevor Kelley escaped his lips. They emerged from somewhere deep down inside himself, but they were not of himself, of that much he was sure. They were not his words. He had never used them before. Where they came from, he had no idea. He spoke the words before he knew they were coming and there was nothing he could do to block them from seeing the light of day. The sweetest, most peaceful, most powerful words he could ever imagine.