In Or Out

Entry by: RStewart

24th February 2016
N5 5EX

Last night I did my full routine. Now I can’t lift my arms without them aching. My boxers are still loose, run out of the Calvin’s though. Millie was always banging on at me to sleep more. I’m gonna be late. Breathe Mason, just breathe. I, 2, 3, pause.

I stopped to breathe. In for 5, she said, out for 8.

and in
1, 2, 3, 4, 5,
and out
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8,
and in
1, 2, 3, 4, 5,
and out
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6..

Shit, shit, come on, 1, 2, 3, shit shit. There’s a hand around my neck again. No it’s fine, I’ll be fine. Get my shorts on, put my jumper on. It will be alright. Hands up, hands up. Right, left, right, left, keep moving. Focus. Jab, Jab, hook cross. Jab, Jab, hook cross. We’ve got this man, we’ve got this. I’m going to be late. Right, come on, grab your bag, take your phone off the charger. Stop, check the mirror again. You’ve done your late night routine you can leave, I swear you can leave the house, you’ll do well at the club. No man, you honestly can’t leave, you haven’t done enough prep. Are you wraps washed? What about your gloves? You’re not even wearing your Calvin’s, how the fuck do you expect to do well in the warm up, let alone the sparring without your Calvin’s on? You’re not leaving the house like that, what the hell is wrong with you? Lift up your shirt, as if you thought you were ready to leave.

I stopped, my phone was buzzing. I shoved it in my pocket, and dropped the gym bag, facing the mirror. I wasn’t going to leave the house, but neither could I think of a reason to get back to bed. I looked at my phone again, I was going to be late, so really there was no point in going. I looked at my phone again, the messages were still there. I walked downstairs into the kitchen, it wasn’t clean. I wanted to turn around back upstairs. The table was littered with empty glasses and bottles. Mum must have had people round, again. I turned to the cupboards and took out one slice of bread, carefully placing it in the toaster. Measuring out my whey protein on the scales, I made my shake. Vanilla, none of that strawberry shit. The toast was done, I had it plain. I left half the shake, and two crusts of the toast. My phone vibrated. It was Millie.

‘did u go to training today?’
‘have you had anything for breakfast?’
‘james says you need to call him back.’
‘where u been?’
‘babe r u okay?’

I read and didn’t reply. If I wasn’t going to the gym I needed to go on a run, or something like that. The hand was getting tighter again, if I didn’t go now I wasn’t going to be able to breathe.

In for 5 out for 8.
In for 5 out for 8
In for 5 out for 8.

I dropped my phone on the floor. The screen was cracked.

My headphones were in, I headed for the door. I was going to go on this run. I was ready for this run.
I really don’t think you’re going make it mate.

I listened to the same playlist every time. The same one every time. Where was it, where was my playlist? I faced the road, the 36 bus was pulling into the stop in front of my house. I looked down at my Nike’s, white, bleached air force 1’s. They weren't moving. I looked out towards the road again. I turned back towards my house, walking back up the path.

I don’t think you’re gonna make it.

No it’s fine just put the key in the door.

It won’t turn. I can’t go back in.

I turned the key in the door and stood in the hallway. I couldn’t move, each step I lost more and more breath. I was winded. What am I doing, what are you doing, what is going on, get out of this house, you need to get out of this house, you’ll never get anything done otherwise. The hand was round my neck again, I was fighting to get any air in.

I stopped.

and in
1, 2, 3, 4, 5,
and out
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8,
and in
1, 2, 3, 4, 5,
oh what was the point.

There was a text from Millie again on my phone.

‘Mason please don’t do this again’
‘where r u?’
‘james said u didn't make it to training.’
‘why wont u call me’
‘mason I need u’
‘stop it’
‘where r u?

I replied.

‘lol, im fine. going to louis yard later. it’s okay.’ My finger hovered over the send button, i pressed it, locking my phone. I unlocked it again looking at the message. Why are you even bothering with her, go back to bed, why would you bother. She’s a waste of time, too much pressure. You’re young, it’s fine.

You need to get up off the floor, get yourself together. Get yourself to the gym.

I had decided I was going. I didn’t know if I was going to make it, but I was out in the air again. I was walking down the road, it was happening, I was going, I was leaving my house. The pavement was still damp, it kind of smelt like the day after bonfire night, damp, smokey. I was moving through it with my head slightly detached from my neck, I was moving down the street. Past Londis, past Paddy Power, past the corner shop, Helena past me with her kid, he looked older. Millie’s older sister used to look after him, nothing but trouble apparently. Take a right Mason - concentrate - we are still moving - it’s only the next left after that.

My headphones were in but I wasn’t listening to anything. There was no playlist.

The entrance to the gym was round the back, a metal fence, and a dirt car park, but it was a second home, and I had made it here. The team van was parked outside, James’s car was parked next to it, a white corsa, he used to take me to my sessions in it when I was little. Sitting in the back with a packet of hula hoops and a ribena, listening to him play old R&B mix tapes that his then ex had made him. I didn’t know where she had ended up, James doesn’t speak about her anymore.

I was half way through the car park. The sound of gloves hitting bags, hitting pads, guys hitting the floor, the skipping ropes going round and round. Slap, whirl, slap. Get off the floor, jab, jab, concentrate, look up, put your hands up, hands up. Wraps being wrapped round knuckles, condensation on the windows, I could smell the guys, I could smell the winning punches, I could smell the losers and the winners. I was in front of the blue door, I was here. I reached for the door handle, my hand was hovering. Just turn the door Mason, just turn the handle. Do it. She wants you to do it, she wants you to text her back. She needs you to be there. Turn the handle. Be the guy she wants.
Do it.
Turn the door.
Do it.
Each finger round the knob.
Turn the fucking door knob.

I couldn’t see the door anymore, I was surrounding by my dark navy trackies. Tensing my arms so hard round my knees that I thought I was going to break them. The harder I squeezed the damper my face was.
Where was my air, what was I doing? Stop screaming, stop it. Am I screaming?

I tried to breathe, I couldn’t even get to 3.

It was silent. My phone was next to me on the floor. Had I passed out? Was I still here? Why can’t I breathe? You’ve got to get up.

I looked at the home screen, 5 missed calls from Millie. This has got to stop man.

I got up, my legs driving me away, I wasn’t even in control anymore, I was just moving. Away.
Down the street, right, left, moving through the scenery.

I was in bed again. I had made it to my bed. Shit I need to change the sheets. Turning over I moved the pillow over my face, it used to smell of her and now it just smells of sweat and lynx. Who cares, who cares about her.

It doesn’t matter.
It doesn’t matter, I didn’t need to go anyways, I’ll go tomorrow.
It doesn't matter.
I’ll be okay.