Being punched in the face hurts. This statement seems terribly obvious, but it seemed, as I looked around me at the curling lips and applauding hands, that that fact wasn’t apparent. Plastered across the faces of the five or six men that surrounded me, was glee and excitement and the unmistakable sight of disapproval at how easily I fell. Part of me wanted to explain actually what it means to be punched in the face. It’s not the same as holding against a breeze; it’s not the same as anything really. I wanted to explain that when a man put good weight behind five knuckles, he doesn’t just push you, it’s more than just a physical act. It’s more than just the nose being pushed in and capillaries bursting. It’s more than the brain rattling like an infant’s toy and it more than just confirmation that “yes, this fight is really going to happen.”
I wanted to explain that all of things were just things that correspond with being hit. It’s a thing near impossible to describe, its reality forcing its way pass you, through you. A punch to the face is a reminder that you are exactly what are, no more or less. The shock of warm tears poised and ready on the edges of your eyes, the jolt of humbling reality making its path down your spine by way of some unknown passage through your lungs. It’s a sick thing to say, it sounds masochistic, but a punch to the face seems to be the closest thing in secular life to a religious experience. There is a profound rush of clarity before the jolt of reality, it’s, in a sad way, a blessing and if you can receive it, get back up far strong than ever before. I wanted to explain this to them, but my words would fall on deaf ears. A punch to the face isn’t sometime one can explain, it’s something one most experience. You need see the five knuckles and the burst of sudden black the quickly follows. A punch is a punch, it’s like nothing else.
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