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I had insulted him, and did not perceive the need to fight over it. Juan used to be my friend, now he was my sworn enemy. The fight was to be settled the park. So waspish was he, and so ignorant was I, that I failed to notice he had been offended. The time to confront him drew closer; the dark mantle of apprehension swathed my entirety.
Attempts to prevent the conflict from taking place, failed miserably. I did not know what to do in a fight, for I had never been in one. Agreeing to it would be the only honorable choice. Refusing it, would have sparked an endless storm of mock. Also, if I tried to run away, that would have made a coward. Either way, I would have to confront him sooner or later.
Today, after school was over, I would head over to the park, and face my former friend. It is unknown to me, how someone could extract such hatred from something so trivial, that I even let slip out my mouth unsupervised. Fortunately, we had not met each other that day, yet... I sat there in my desk, uncomfortably looking around the class. The teacher seemed to be babbling gibberish, and the students sat there, with blank stares, sleeping with their eyes open. My eyes slowly made their way up from the floor, onto the teacher’s old wooden podium, jumped to the blackboard, then onto the clock. I watched the clock slowly ticking. Each tic was like a sheer cold drop of water hitting my forehead, like the Chinese Water Torture, gradually driving me insane.
Finally, the bell rang, the ringing delved deep into me, and I felt it vibrating in my head. Here in Cartago, schools are not completely indoors, the school’s perimeter is a big square surrounded by a nine feet tall concrete wall, and classes are strategically placed on separated buildings on the corners of the perimeter. The empty space in the middle of the big square is covered by grass, trees, and several soccer and basketball fields. I had walked out of the classroom. It had been raining heavily; the white tiled hallways stretching to both sides were flooded and stained by mire mixed with water. Then, a menacing figure in the distance entered my line of sight; it was approaching me. It seemed to be unhurriedly gliding over the wet grass, as if it possessed all of the time in world. The outline of a tall man penetrated the thin layer of fog; suddenly, it was right in front of me. There he stood Juan, and his entourage of minions. His followers, mestizos and of medium stature, with a condescending look on their face, and their chins cavalierly raised up high; the group subtracted from Juan’s threatening demeanor, because they looked so pathetic and ridiculous. At last, I realized how stupid they looked, and I felt satisfaction, because my self was not part of that group anymore. The sight of their stupidity allowed me to gather bravery to confront Juan.
“Look it’s the traitor, el playo,”“Juan is going to kick your culo, ****,”“We’ll see you at the park, maldito hijo de…,” said his mindless underlings in chorus.
Juan simply chuckled, and glared at me with cold gray eyes. His expression revealed his contempt. The group walked beside me, and the scorn in the atmosphere left with them. They had blended into a thicket of trees, and were no longer in sight. They had gone to their smoking hangout. I had never heard of anything remotely as foolish as smoking on schools grounds. Especially if what they are smoking is marijuana, which is illegal. However, the strong smell of the cypress trees did overcome that of the smoke. The density of the trees, which blocked most of the sun rays, and the irresponsible lack of supervisors, made it unlikely that anyone would find out. Nevertheless, there was risk, there is always risk.
I senselessly wandered around the school, unsure of what to do next. Knowledge that the time was fast approaching, was conspicuously present in my head. The time between this, and the confrontation, would be determined by just how much time it would take me to arrive at the park. Determined to merely get it over with, I and walked along the paved path leading to a great black gate. The park was not very distant; it was about one mile away. Halfway along the path, my legs started moving for the run. Running faster than Atalanta or Achilles themselves, I began the sprint through the wet grass, and through the great metal arch, which was the gate. I wanted this to be through, to be resolved as fast as possible.
Once out of the school, I made a right turn, and ran along the sidewalk. I ran past the middle class homes, and the humble hovels. In this country, almost all homes are right next to each other, sharing walls. The people in those houses can hear all of the disturbances occurring in their neighbors’ homes. I sprinted through the tents, where merchants sold their wares. They were mostly fruits and vegetables, that explained the dirtiness, the rotten waste lying on the street, and overall, that foul stench. Surprisingly, I was halfway there, and my energy was not sapped. My body was transforming my will, into actual physical energy.
I continued to run into the wealthier area of Cartago. The homes, unlike in the lower class area, were separated from the others. A flash of envy pierced through my mind at the sight of the elegant homes, such thought was fugitive, for I had more important matters to worry about. Now, the park was within the range of my vision. I pushed myself, and before noticing it, I was there, the place where the juncture of my life would occur.
My lungs were punishing me for the run. They demanded oxygen urgently. As I tried to catch my breath, I analyzed my surroundings. There were no signs of Juan or his crew. Whatever torture Juan would not inflict upon me because of his absence, my anxiety would make up for it. Sitting on a stone bench under a tree, I felt a gentle cold breeze against my face, it relaxed me a little, and it seemed as if it were attempting to reassure me. The park was empty, and peaceful, too peaceful…
The park was simply a large paved square area, with trees and benches placed around in no specific pattern. Just as I stood up to walk, a drop of water hit my head; it started to rain. I thought the rain had postponed the fight; such thought was foolish, for as quickly as it came to me, it vanished, as a figure ambling through the rain loomed. Me and Juan were face to face now, there was not retreating at his point. His minions appeared eager to assault me; they were prepared to attack me. With the wave of his hand, Juan made them step back.
Juan did not delay; he threw a powerful punch, which hit me on the stomach. It knocked my air out. Before I could react, a fist made contact with the right side of my face. For a split second my memory blanked out, and I found myself lying on the ground on a puddle of blood. A burning thirst was in my throat, yet not for water, there was plenty of that in my mouth; I was bloodthirsty, for his blood. Leisurely, I tried to stand on my feet. There was an insufferable pain all over my body. The taste of my blood was in my mouth. I moved my palm to meet with my face, then my eyes, and I saw that blood. That fluid had awakened an unnatural, instinctive, anger, lodged deep within the primitive part of the human brain. Juan was slowly walking away back to his underlings. One of them was trying to inform him from the distance, that I was not finished. A rush of adrenaline flowed through every inch of my veins and arteries. My heart rate escalated to an inhuman level, and time slowed down considerably around me.
What occurred next was sui generesis. My body started to move involuntarily, like it had adopted a mind of its own. I was now simply a passenger in my body, and the driver was an unknown entity. To me it seemed to be to be in slow motion; my body ran up behind Juan. He slowly turned his face to look back at me, his grin turned into a shocked expression. Just as he did that, my body converted all of the damage he had wreaked upon my body, into strength; adding it to the primitive rage. All of this was packed into a single swift jab that hit him on the face. The fear and anxiety that plagued my mind fell, just as his body plummeted to the ground; it was resolved. I walked over to him, lying on the ground, his skin was bleaching, and his breath became weak. Without an idea of what to do next, my body took over again. It made me run; run as far away as possible into the distance.