Day of the fight. Wake up that morning with a temperature of 100.6. Sweating. Flushed cheeks. Anxious. Always am on these days. Feel the regulating coolant kick in as I get out of bed, blooming at the base of my skull and spreading through my body.
Manuela already in the kitchen doing dishes. Ignore her and do what I always do the day of a fight. Do what I always do no matter what—prepare. Strap on the goggles, run the simulations again. Run them so many times the images of that wiry Hispanic sneering at me with a black mouthpiece burns into my vision. Win them all again—just like I will the real thing.
Manuela heats a frozen TV dinner and turns on the television. Grab the remote and turn it back off. Close my eyes as I eat in silence, imagining the fight. Abraja ducking for the takedown, me raising my knee and slamming it into his cocky face. Him collapsing to the mat with a busted nose, me lunging on top of him raining down blows before the ref pulls me off.
Day moves slow. Fight day always does. Run the simulations more. Take a shit while sketching out Abraja’s punch combos. Skip rope in the living room for an hour staring at the wall of my living room imagining me bobbing and weaving his strikes, countering with a knockout blow.
Reason I’m going to win: no one else on this planet has my drive.