About a pre-adolescent boy that never quite grows up due to a hormonal condition called Hypogonadism or Delayed Puberty. He has a strange dream that will come to haunt him for most of his life.
It is noisy, very noisy as I sit on a wooden stool in the corner of the ring. I really don’t hear a word my corner man is saying to me, as he wipes the sweat… and maybe, the blood…off my forehead with a wet towel. Even his face isn’t very clear. My chest heaves up and down as I take a sip of water from the plastic bottle he hands me and spit it back out. I look down at the hair across my chest muscles strangely, as if that hair should not be there….and over at one of my boxing-gloved arms. I see a large, rounded bicep and for a moment, have a strange smile of newfound satisfaction on my face…but then urgency grips me as I hear the noise of hundreds, maybe thousands of voices in the crowd that seem to swirl around me, growing louder with every moment until the bell rings and I leap once again to my feet. I can never remember my opponent’s features: whether he has black or sandy hair, or blue or brown eyes; but he is strong and tanned, about my height and weight with the same black, padded gloves. I feel tired, very tired and so is my opponent as we face each other in the center of the ring. We exchange blows with sore, heavy arms, as each of us attempts to push the other back, towards the corner. We embrace several times, not out of affection, but to catch our breath. I feel the drops of sweat on his chest. The referee quickly breaks us up and we continue to punish each other. I throw a wild left hook to his head, but he steps inside and catches me on the cheek with a hard, right jab. I am down, sitting on my rear with both arms propping me up, the ring is spinning and the noise of the crowd had become unbearably loud. The ref stands over me, signaling with his hand…One! Two!
It’s a strange dream for a young teenager, especially one who knows nothing about boxing. Neither do my parents, grandparents, nor my sister Lois, three years older than myself. I open my eyes suddenly, staring at the flowered wallpaper on the ceiling. My room is on the second floor of the Cape Cod house and the ceiling slopes down at a 45-degree angle to the cowboy-styled children’s bed. I weave a finger through the yellow background and around the purple flowers which has become a morning ritual for me. I am alone in the bedroom, one of two dormer rooms added in the 1950’s to our tiny Cape Cod type house. My room connects to an attic. It is on the far side of the room, behind a half-sized pair of knotty pine doors. I am convinced that there are monsters in there, behind the doors; perhaps Lon Chaney Jr.’s Werewolf or Lugosi’s Dracula; creatures that only emerge at night, of course, when one is alone in his room.
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