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No Pain, No Game

By , Cupertino, CA

 “Water break!” Sung yelled. He was an instructor. Tall, slender and very flexible just like every other experienced instructor. He was good at his job so that made him a good leader being strict and everything, but after class, he’d be the person that you’d listen to K-pop music while mopping the red and blue mat, and probably dancing once in awhile. That made him a little unique, but let’s get to the point.
     

The afternoon started out fine, then it got a little boring, and now I feel like I could dump myself on a mattress and stay there for days. As I heard Sung yell out the one thing I wanted to hear in like forever, I sprang up and looked at the grim clock. It was about 6:45 pm. I was too lazy to go in detail. A good four hours had passed since I'd gotten out of my dad’s blue raspberry mini-van. It felt like a millennia passed since then.
       

My legs felt like play dough as I started pacing around watching all the other students line up in a crooked line in front of the only water fountain with their sweaty faces and heavily breathing mouths. They didn’t look too joyful after the ‘mini workout’ we’d just went through. I didn’t feel so good myself either, but half the sweat on my face didn’t come from the workout. That was the pressure from what the instructors told us a while ago. I sat down and put my long, untidy hair behind my ears. It felt so moist and icky that I wanted to take a shower. I really wanted to get this over with. I popped open my half empty water bottle and took a sip of the refreshing fluid as I watched some brown belts running around, trying to have some fun while some older black belts were just talking in a corner laughing aloud once in awhile.
       

Ahh… This is what you call life. I”m lovin it back here.


       “What the,” Why is that stupid voice in my head now. What’s your problem dummy?
       It's not my fault for being me he said.
       Ugh just get out of there for at least a minute.
       Fine, I’ll go, but I’ll be back when the show starts which is probably in a few minutes. Tata.
       “Why can’t you just get lost!” I stubbornly thought. Turns out I said it out loud so this blonde dude glared at me so that made things better.
       

Ok then, I’m just going to make a turn to the locker room uhh… bye. Just like that, I disappeared into the dimly lit room that was vacantly silent. I didn’t realize how tired I was till I sat down on one of the small concrete blocks. Man, I had no idea how I was feeling at the moment.
       How is this last part  going to go?
I took another sip of liquid from my lavender bottle and pushed my maroon colored glasses up the bridge of my small nose. It was pretty good except for the writing part. I must have failed on that, but I think I did great otherwise. I considered trying to be optimistic. Truth is, I’m not very good at that.
       “EVERYBODY LINE UP!” I stiff voice hollered out.
       It’s time. I told myself.  Don’t worry I got this in the bag...maybe.
       We’ll see (1)
       Hush, stop it.
       Fine, you’ll do amazing… Happy?(1)
       Be quiet

__________________________________________________

       “Kiran”
       I was next. As I struggled to stand up, my mind went completely blank all I knew was that I was tensed out for something. I even forgot why/where/how I was here…
       Okaaay then. Umm… what was I supposed to do again?
       Break the thing right in front of your dummy.
       I wanted to argue, but there was no point in doing that so I kept my temper down.
       Tick tock tick tock.
       Stop that! Let me focus or else I’m going to kill you.
       You can’t kill me. I’m in your head haha!(1)
       Ugh!
       Fine. May the force be with you. (Snigger snigger)
       I got this.
       I was so worried even though I really had nothing to worry about.
       That annoying voice was actually right. I was overconfident.
       Aww,  you actually think I’m right …
       Ugh...
       Heh. Have you ever even tried doing this before.
       

I didn’t want to answer that question because my mind was already full of thoughts and questions that were useless, and they make me scared for no reason anyway. The answer to that would have made me feel even worse. My hands felt cold and numb as if they were buried in snow. My feet trembled as I took a small step forward. It felt as if I unlearned how to walk. Then, another, more calm voice decided to pop in. This was definitely someone else because the other one was and still is really annoying, but this one was different.
       

Come on, and get into the game it said. Don’t say you can’t, say you will and you’ll do fine. Your other voice is a big brat don’t let him get on your nerve.(3)


       I’m right here.(1)
       I don’t care.
       “Ok, if you say it works, I’ll try. I will do this,” I whispered aloud bringing up my confidence.
       

I felt my hairs stick up as I looked at the too hard, gray bricks that were stacked on top of one another. I stepped forward putting one foot in front of the other. I felt a cold breeze skim my face as I charged. I when I say charge I mean actually CHARGE for I literally jumped and pushed my hand as hard as I could well can, but let’s just say could. Then I lifted my hand which felt like it was sitting in a fireplace and opened my eyes. I looked at my burnt red hand and then at the brick.  There was only silence.


       What. No,no,no,no,no,no,NOOOO…  This. can’t. be. It should have broke. I tried like really hard!
       Did you really?
       Shut up.
       Ha!

       

Seriously, how could you be this cruel. Just shut you mouth for heaven's sake!
       

The brick was still standing with not even a single crack on its rough surface. I felt like this was a joke. How could this stupid, ugly brick not have broken? I turned to look at my parents that were frozen to the spot and speechless. They looked pretty disappointed.  From the corner of my eye, I could see my brother silently sniggering. For a long time, I didn’t know what to do.
       

At that very moment, I felt angry. Not just at myself, but at everything. I started to hate my life for a second then I looked down at the cruel gray block of evil.


        This isn’t fair. It just isn’t fair. I thought stubbornly.
        Life itself was never meant to be called fair for nothing is fair.
        Well, I hate it. I hate life. Why is it so cruel?!
        It just is. Just remember the one that falls and gets up is much stronger than the one that never falls.
       

The other voice my head was so steady and calm which for some reason made me feel even angrier. I don’t know how, but I just felt she didn’t understand my pressure, what I was going through. I felt like I wanted to kick something or throw the brick and kill it because by the look of it, even if it wasn’t real, it looked like it was laughing at me in my head.


         “Try again,” the instructor said calmly, a little disappointed, but still calmly. I could tell that he expected better from me since I was one of the older kids. I just couldn’t take it anymore, though.
         CURSE THIS STUPID BRICK!!!
         I would not let myself get embarrassed by one stupid BRICK!
       

 “Aaaaaiiiii!!!” I screamed aloud as I could to break the stupid thing into millions of pieces. My hand burned like hell, but I kept my eyes shut. I didn’t want to see the big rectangular lump of pure evil again. I had heard a loud clatter that sounded like an avalanche, but I didn’t think that was me because it was too loud and too precise to come from my hand. I think I doubted myself too much because next thing I know I was totally wrong.
         

Loud cheers and claps filled the air.
         

I carefully opened my slightly sore eyes to find what looked like pieces of a large rock cake. I’d actually passed the final exam like what. I would have run a victory lap of something, but I felt a little embarrassed and shy at the same time. It was right. That darn little voice knew. It was correct? Weird how things can turn out.

         This war is officially over. I told myself while staring at the shattered brick.
         Bravo. (1)  he said sarcastically.
         Thx Mr.
         Hey, just because I gave you a compliment doesn’t mean I’m going to be nice to you.

         Ha, ok then.
         Excellently done. Just remember ‘No pain, no game.’.(3)
         

That sounded like a quote my dad used to always tell me which was weird, but I just went with it. With that, I gladly joined my other fellow teammates to watch the rest of the competitors. So you see, once you believe in yourself, anything is possible. Even the impossible.




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