Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Kara stepped out of the gym. Her dry weave, body forming shirt soaking in sweat. The contrast of her hot sweaty body against the fall evening air sent shivers down her. Kara was exhausted. The trainer, Tony, was relentless.

Tony was the head trainer. He took over the 5:30 PM class since Amir left. Tony was a MMA fighter. He competed and prepared to compete constantly. He had tattoos going up the back of his neck to the top of his head, mimicking what Kara assumed some kind of tribal tattooing. It was obvious his body was covered in the art. Kara's friend Cindy joked once that even Tony's balls were tattooed.

Tonight, Tony focused on legs. It was the round house kicks that wore Kara out. She could handle an hour long class of boxing and aerobics. But kicking took it out of her. At first Tony would bark out an order of 10 kicks followed by some short aerobic routine. Then he bumped up the repetitions to twenty. And then thirty. They did not stop until the count was 50 from each side. Kara's body ached.

Ahead of Kara was Christie. Kara tried to pick up her pace to catch up with Christie. Normally Kara wouldn't think twice of talking with her. They didn't mix. Asians did not talk with blacks. It wasn't part of the code. Tonight, Kara didn't care. Christie was her with her in the trenches of Tony's class and tonight they shared a bond.

"That was hard", Kara commented.

Christie looked back at her, faintly laughing, "Oh my god. I thought I was going to die".


That was pretty much all the breathe Kara had left for a rely. Besides she was at her car now and there was no need to continue talking. Despite her exhaustion, Kara felt good. It felt good to be this tired. It also felt good to step out and talk with someone she wouldn't normally even share a glance.

I should be nice to everyone, Kara commented to herself. After all, that is the golden rule.

Kara continued in her self reflection to treat other people regardless of the code of the street, or anything else. It was right to treat people kindly and it felt good. She vowed from this moment on she was going to live by that new rule.

Slowly getting into her little Honda Civic, Kara keeps a mindful eye out for the family exiting their van. The kids were dressed in their white Gi, the traditional Asian martial art attire. They must be here for the Muay Thai class. The father stands in the middle of the parking lot, slowly working his way to the building with nothing else on his mind.

Kara musters enough to say out loud, "Stupid selfish fool". Then she paused, realizing she just broke her rule.

Kara laughs, thinking, this is going to be harder than I thought.

As she pulls out of the parking lot, she reflects on her new goal. She realizes she can do this but it will be much harder than she thought.

This struggle between selflessness and selfishness is the fate of all humans. Throughout history, even on day to day basis in modern life, people reach out to help the down trodden and well to do strangers alike. Yet in the same motion they are being selfish, helping another person in the hopes of getting something back.

Pay it forward as one movie called it. Tonight, Kara was lost in thought of her new resolve to struggle against her selfish ways and idealistic selfless ways. Tomorrow, she would have to struggle, even to the point of exhaustion if she was to overcome.

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