Jack still felt them
The soreness from that morning’s exertions
The bruises from his last fights
He felt them as he headed out of the gym
To pick up his kid
His kid worshipped him
Thought he was a hero
He was his biggest fan
But there’s nothing heroic about prizefighting
He certainly did not feel like a hero that day
He swore that he’d get a decent night’s rest
That he’d find a decent job
That he’d throw in the towel
That he’d spend more time with his kid
He swore a lot of things that day
A street that was getting noisier
He noticed a commotion up ahead
Cars crashing
Horns blaring
People screaming
He paused confused for a moment
What was going on?
Then a name popped into his head
A name that severed his confusion
He ran
Pushed through the crowd
And then he saw it
A nightmare scene
The nightmare that played out every time he closed his eyes
An overturn truck
A number of smashed up cars
A dozen injured people
And barrels of chemicals spewing
His kid lying at the center
He rushed to his kid
Chemicals all over his face
He scoured wildly all over the place
Looking for help
Looking for an explanation
Something that made sense
He saw an old man trying to get up
“The boy
He pushed me out of the way
He saved my life”
“Dad, it burns.”
He stared at the upended barrels
And the vile viscous chemical gushing out
Panic took over
He rubbed the liquid with his sleeves
It won’t come off!
His kid screamed
His mind numbed
His heart ached
He felt all his pain go away
A nightmare
This nightmare had replaced all of them
As his kid lost his vision
He lost parts of his own
He was no hero
He was just a dumb boxer
Who can’t save his own son from going blind
Jack thought and swore a different oath that day

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