Written by Shataivian
Lisa made her way into a gym that seemed closed. The lights were off, save from a few from the front desk and some in an open storage room. The lights bounced off the mirrors on the walls of the gym giving her a bit of vision. As she traveled deeper inside, she called out for her friend. Not long after Jason emerged from the storage closet, wrapping his hands.
“Lisa! Hey, you made it!” Jason greeted Lisa with a hug and Lisa gave a slow pat in return. “Here. Let me get some lights on.”
“Where is everybody,” Lisa asked wandering about the room, taking everything in.
“I, uh.” Jason grunted as he reached over the front counter towards the light switches. “I get this place to myself every so often. A friend of mine owns the place.” Soon the lights in the back corner were on, illuminating the boxing ring and the area to the side of it. “So, we’ve got the place to ourselves.” Lisa nodded back in response. “Well, here she is,” Jason said as he made his way next to Lisa, gesturing to the ring.
“We just gonna jump in?”
“If you want,” Jason laughed. “Figured we do some drills and then see where we are from there.”
Lisa nodded back to Jason and dropped her duffel bag on the floor against the wall of mirrors. She took her t-shirt off and tied what little hair she had back. Jason did the same, taking off his shirt and tying his hair back. He then tossed Lisa some hand wraps and showed her how to put them on. After that, they waisted no time and got to training. Jason held up two hand pads and taught her how to protect herself. He showed her how to move, how to place her feet. He should her how to dodge and eventually how to punch. She started to pick it up quick, so Jason kept going, challenging her and correcting her when needed. However, there wasn’t much small talk. Lisa avoided eye contact as much as she could, but every now-and-then their eyes would catch before she’d quickly look away. The tension was obvious to them both. Jason needed to do something.
“So, how are things with you and this new guy,” Jason slipped in. Lisa’s ear twitched but she kept her focus on the pads.
“What? Oh, that.” She thought for a moment. When she looked up at Jason, he had a soft smile on his face. This dropped her guard for a moment. “I. I only said that to upset you.”
“Really?” Jason slowly nodded, taking in what this meant. “Well, I won’t lie, it worked.”
“No, I get it.” They continued with the training and things went quiet between them for a bit. “I’m glad you decided to spend your summer here.”
“Yup.” Lisa spoke sharply. “Gotta get ready for next season.”
“Good footwork,” he complimented not saying much more afterwards.
Eventually, Jason felt it was time to try a bit of real boxing. He went into the back-storage closet and came back with the smallest gloves he could find as well as a pair for himself. Once situated, the two climbed into the ring and started with footwork. They moved slow, giving Lisa the chance to get used to things. When she did, he warned her that he’d eventually stop holding his punches and she agreed to this. Once in a while Jason would get a few good hits in. At first, he felt bad and wanted to hold back, but the more he landed punches, the more he started to laugh. Soon the two were snickering and Jason was teasing her.
“C’mon, you wimp,” Jason laughed. Lisa bit her lower lip and blitzed towards him making him have to catch himself on the ropes.
“There,” she shouted. “That wimp enough for you?” Jason just laughed. He held on to the ropes unable to contain himself. Then Lisa joined him.
“I’ve missed this,” Jason continued as he stood to his feet.
“Yeah, me too,” Lisa admitted. He walked up to her and their eyes locked. This time they didn’t dart away. The laughter started to die down and Jason dropped his head slightly.
“Listen,” he started. “I’ve been.” He thought for a moment. “I’ve been trying to really sit down and think about what I want. I just want to make sure I’m doing the right thing.” Lisa took a slow breath in and out.
“What are you thinking?”
“That I want you.” His face went serious and his eyes remained locked on hers.
“But your wife,” Lisa’s voice was raspy. “And child.”
“I’m still not even sure it’s my child. And if it is, I don’t know if it’ll matter.” Lisa’s shoulders dropped and her head soon followed.
“Was it a mistake to come here?”
“No! No, of course not. I’ve just missed you. I’ve missed this. I.” Jason paused. He cursed under his breath and continued with more confidence. “I’m not gonna sit here and pretend like I don’t love you.” Lisa froze, rooted to her spot. “I’ve never felt like this before.”
“But you should be focusing on your family.” She resumed eye contact with him, keeping a strict face.
“What if I want you to be my family?”
“But I can change that.”
“Jason, please don’t do this again.”
“But it’s what I’ve been wracking my brain over!” He moved closer to her and placed his hands on her shoulders. “I want to do what’s right, but I don’t know what that is.”
“Right now, it’s your family,” Lisa said, snatching her shoulders back. Jason stood straight and his demeanor shifted.
The two went back to their stances and began the training again. Their faces were tense, and any words spoken were short and to the point and only had to do with boxing. Eventually Lisa was the one who felt compelled to break this silence.
“Have you told her,” she asked softly.
“Told her what?” Jason’s voice was annoyed but reluctant. Lisa stood up from her stance to respond back.
“About us?” With her guard now down, Jason gave a slow but purposeful hook to her face.
“Hands up.” Lisa just shook it off and continued.
“Well,” she reiterated.
“What’s there to tell?”
“She doesn’t know?!”
“Does she really?!”
“Yes,” Jason snapped. “She knows we’ve slept together, alright?” Lisa shook her head. This was a cop out.
“I’m not talking about the first time when we were drunk. I’m talking about-“ Jason swung at her side that was now open.
“Jason,” Lisa shouted dropping her hands. Jason swung at her face again, this time a little bit harder.
“I’m talking about Vegas,” she finally got out. They both stopped moving. “Why haven’t you told her?”
“Lisa. Don’t worry about it, okay? This has nothing to do with you.” This caused Lisa tohold her breath. “You know what I mean!”
“When are you planning to tell her?” Jason didn’t answer. “You weren’t,” she said in realization.
“Lisa, can we not?” Jason’s voice was now soft. “I just want to spend time with you and not talk about it, okay?”
“And why not talk about it!” Lisa’s boisterous voice riled Jason back up.
“It’s my business!”
“It’s my business, too!” They glared at each other for a moment, both taking the opportunity to wind down a bit. “You need to tell her. She’s part of your life.”
“Lisa, please.” Jason put up his guard, ready to start again.
“You can’t keep something like this from her.” Jason yet again landed a punch. He hit her in the stomach, this time knocking the wind out of her, causing her to double over. “Fine,” she said through her teeth, still bent over. “If you won’t tell her, then I will.” Her voice was hushed but sharp.
“What? Why would you do that?” Lisa stood tall and tossed her gloves on the ground.
“’cause I’ve been on the other side, Jason! I know what it’s like. Whether she deserves to lose you or not, she at least deserves to know the truth.” She turned around and started for the other side of the ring. Jason tossed his own gloves on the ground and took a step towards Lisa.
“What if you’re all I want?!” Lisa froze. “What if you’re all I care about? What if I don’t care about what happens to her.” Lisa turned around, stopping about halfway. “What if you’re all I think about,” he continued softly. “What if I can’t picture a life without you?” He made his way to her and turned her to face him completely. “What if I love you more than I’ll ever love her?”
“Jason,” was all Lisa could mutter.
“Lisa, I need you. I hate feeling like this. And I know you feel the same way. You’re here.” Lisa looked away. “You could have had anyone train you. Hell, you didn’t even need to leave Vegas, but you’re here, with me. You were hoping for this exact thing.” Lisa’s shoulders slumped, but Jason caught them, hunching over to her eye level. “Then what the hell are we waiting for?” Lisa looked back at him.
“You. That’s all I’ve ever been waiting for. It’s all I can do.”
Jason took a deep breath, his eyes darted back and forth between hers, his jaw shifted, and in an instant, his lips were pressed against hers. He pulled her in closed and wrapped his arms tightly around her. Lisa wanted to want to push him away, but he was right. This was what she wanted. Before long Jason was undressing her and joining her as he laid her right there on the boxing ring floor. She didn’t stop him. She wanted to say something to save face, but he was right. This was what she wanted. He made love to her. She let him. She fell in love again. Afterall, he was right. This. All of this was what she wanted.
With all the other lights in the gym off, the overhead lighting made the act feel like a spectacle. Lisa lost herself in Jason, and Jason lost himself in her. This wasn’t like any other time. This was important. This felt real. Didn’t it? Once they finished Lisa sat up, clutching her clothes to her chest. Jason sat behind her with his hands back on her shoulders. She just stared forward.
“Why do we keep ending up here,” she finally asked.
“You know why,” Jason whispered. He then gave her a soft kiss and stood to his feet, looking to redress himself. Lisa continued to stare forward for a moment before she, too, stood to her feet. “I gotta talk to her,” Jason spoke up again as he put on his gym shorts. “I gotta figure this out.” Something inside of Lisa dropped as she heard this.
“‘Figure this out,’” she restated.
“This whole ‘us’ situation,” he clarified, now putting his t-shirt on. Lisa laughed.
“Are you fucking kidding me?” Jason turned around to face Lisa who was still clutching her clothes. It slowly hit him why she would react this way.
“Lisa, let me talk to her, let me sort this out, okay?”
“You’re still wavering! Ugh!” She threw her head back and turned the other way as she forcefully put her clothes back on.
“No! I’m serious about you!”
“AND her,” she added. “I can’t believe I let you-“ Lisa was shaking, putting her shoes on the wrong feet, trying to quickly get dressed.
“Lisa, calm down. It’s not like that. Just be patient, okay? I promise-“
“All I’ve been is patient,” she shouted as she stood to her feet and turned to face him. “I’ve been sitting on pins and needles wondering what will happen. ‘Will he leave her?’ ‘Will I get him?’ ‘Will this time be it?’ Do you have any idea what it’s like to be so in love with someone who actually loves you back but still can’t do anything about it?!”
“You think this isn’t hard for me, too?! I’m going through as much torture as you!” Jason stood his ground.
“No! No, you’re not! As things are right now, you’ve got it made. You’ve got your lovely wife, and when things get strained between you two, you’ve got me to turn to!” Lisa put on a fake smile. “And when that’s done, all you have to do is say ‘I’ll figure this out,’ and you’re right back with Sharice again. Me, I have to sit here, waiting. Waiting to see if this time will be the time I get my ‘happily ever after,’ or if I’m gonna get my heart ripped out again.” Her voice echoed throughout the dark gym. “You know,” she laughed. “I wish you’d hit me, abuse me, call me names, something.” Jason moved in towards her to try and comfort her. “It’s easy to see someone as bad for you when they do the obvious bad things to you.”
“Lisa.” His voice was somber.
“But you.” She looked at him with soft eyes and a soft smile. “Out of everything, you’re the absolute worst thing to happen to me.”
“What,” he whispered in shock.
“Because I keep coming back. I keep trusting you. But you don’t change. You’re a great guy. And you genuinely want to do the right thing. But all you do is hurt me again and again and again.”
“Listen, I’ll talk to Sharice and-“ he started to say.
“And what? Tell her what? That that’s it? That you’re absolutely getting a divorce?” Jason tried to answer but was shocked to find that he could not. Lisa scoffed and continued. “Or to ‘figure it out?’” Jason could no longer look her in the eye. Lisa nodded. “This was a bad idea,” she declared. “Thank you for the offer, but I’m sure I can find a trainer closer to home.” She grabbed her duffel bag and started for the front door.
“Lisa, please,” Jason begged. “I promise you I’ll talk to her. I’ll.” He stopped. “I’ll end it.” Lisa stopped as well. “I’ll end things with her. I’ll talk to her and tell her that’s it. We’re done.” Lisa kept her back to him. “I just need you to be patient, okay? I’ll talk to her. I’ll give her a chance to talk back. But this all has to happen before anything with us.” Lisa finally turned around.
“Then say the words,” she demanded. “Say ‘I’m getting a divorce with Sharice.’”
“Is that what you need?” Lisa didn’t answer. “Fine. I’m getting a divorce with Sharice.” He held his hands out to either side as if presenting those words to her. Lisa stared back at him and the two stood quietly. Jason kept his gaze on Lisa, but eventually his gaze slowly fell to stare off into the distance. He closed his eyes and dropped his head back slightly.
“No, you’re not,” Lisa whispered to him, turning back towards the door.
“Lisa,” Jason softly called back to her. “Please.”
“No.” She turned back again to face him. “If there’s one thing you’ve taught me, it’s how to be strong against people who want to hurt me. I’m drawing the line here.” Jason shook his head in response. “I hope you get through this; I really do. But I can’t be your punching bag anymore while you ‘figure this out.’ And you know I’m right.”
“I don’t want to be that guy.”
“Good. It’s a start. But the fact of the matter is, you ARE that guy. And I can’t have someone like that in my life. I just can’t.” Jason started to rush towards her to plead with her.
“I love you.” His eyes started to well up. Lisa’s welled up as well.
“And that’s the worst part of all,” she whispered. “Is this what you want for someone you love?” Jason had nothing to say. “I wouldn’t want this for you. Just let me walk away. Please?” She waited a moment then turned back for the door. As she opened it Jason took another step closer to her.
“Lisa, I-“ She stopped. He stopped. She was right. And he knew it. He said nothing more. Lisa gave it a second, then without looking back, walked through the door. The cool air rushed in for the moment while the door was open, and soon she was completely out of view. The door itself took its time to close, slowly but eventually leaving Jason to stand alone in the darkest part of the gym.