Monday, October 1, 2007


He came from behind me that evening, wrapping his arms around my waist. His touch surprised me. Our faces were close, I could feel his breath against my ear; his chest against my back.

"Hi," I said with a shaky laugh.

"Is that what you would say to your attacker?"

I wanted to tell him that his arms didn't feel like an attackers. I glanced in the mirrors of the dojo studio. The rest of the students were stretching and warming up. I knew we were attracting their glances.

"I don't see you making any moves."

I passed through all the steps that would disable my attacker without really thinking about them. I mocked stepping on his foot, shifting my hips to hit his groin with my fist and then twisting around to hit the side of his head with my elbow.

"Not bad."

"Thanks," I said and immediately blushed as he removed his arms. I ran my fingers through my bangs and tucked them in my ponytail. "I tried to practice my stuff but no one in my family wants to attack me." I laughed. "I think they're afraid."

He smiled and put his hands on his hips. "Not even your boyfriend? Is he afraid too?"

"I don't have a boyfriend," I told him. I said it as cooly as I could, but it came out in a shaky voice.

He nodded in obvious approval. I saw it, could anyone else? I didn't bother to let my gaze drift to the mirrors that surrounded the dojo. "Let me know when I can help," he commented. "It's been awhile since i've gone through the green belt attacks. . . but I'm sure it's all there."

I saw how he set himself up for a compliment. For some reason, I helped him along and finished it for him. I smiled. "Well of course it's been awhile, you're a black belt."

"Third degree," he corrected.

"Third degree," I corrected myself.

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