She wiped her sweaty face with her fist and sniffled. No, she wasn’t crying. She never could. She was just mentally preparing herself for the second part of that afternoon’s ring time. Sena raised her water bottle to her head and drank – three audible gulps. Her mother wouldn’t be proud of her ‘unladylike’ behaviour. But then again if she had no say in what her father was doing to her, she sure as hell could have no say in how she drinks her water.
Sena opened the tap and splashed some cool water on her face. Lifting her head, she caught a glance of her kpemkpeshi hair and the unfazed expression on her round face. ‘Ok. It’s go time’, she pumped herself up. She slipped her trained hands into the gloves and bumped her fists together.
Mr. Darko saw her come out of the bathroom and motioned her towards the ring. He was happy she had beat Naana, but to him, that was no real challenge – merely a warmup. If Sena beat Jessica, the region’s best female boxer, now, that would really show what she was made of. It would also prove him to be the best trainer in the region, as if he didn’t think so already. He looked at his daughter, at how beautifully strong her calves looked in her shorts. He was proud she was taking after him. He’d nearly made it to nationals in his heydays, till his knee gave way, that is.
Sena’s tired old boots let two squeaks escape as she shuffled quickly backwards, disarming Jessica’s punch. She countered with a strong directed uppercut introducing her fist to her opponent’s chiseled jaw. Her head guard pinched a little at her temples; she’d had it for years. But the discomfort was superseded by the smell of impending victory.
She looked over at Mr. Darko, a bittersweet taste filling her mouth. Imagining her father at the receiving end of her punches made it a little better. She smiled. Soon, she knew, she’d be strong enough to push him to the floor with greater force than his old bones can muster when he tries to shove her into the bed.