The boys kept shouting and making jokes. We were all very happy to have had this resounding victory.
At the lockers, I went to the drinks bar and grabbed a bottle of water, filled it up and finished it in one stroke. I was thirsty. Physical exertion of this size dehydrated me.
And there was no better way to cure my thirst than with water.
“Hey man, save space for the party. We’ve brought everything.”
I threw the bottle of water in the dustbin and turned to see Martin. He, along with Xavier, were my best mates.
We had known each other since Richard decided to take care of me, when they had begun boxing, only a short while before that. Both of them were Richard’s students.
From the first time we met, they accepted me as part of their group. They never criticized me for my lack of manners, or because I had not attended school as they did.
Neither were they intimidated by my aggressive behavior. I was sixteen years old when I began training with Richard.
Unfortunately, I never had parents who taught me shit in life. What I learned from watching the street was the only thing I knew.
“A party? When and where? And why do I not know anything?” After this triumph, it was impossible for them not to organize something.
Even though I knew, I pretended ignorance, and as always, we ended up at my house. I had plenty of space to do everything there.
When I won my first championship, I bought it for my wife as a wedding gift. The day was still fresh in my mind. I took her without telling her where we were going.
She was immediately amazed when we entered the property. The house was gigantic. As we got out of the car, we walked to the entrance, I took out the keys, and put them in her hand.
“What are the keys for, Marce?”
“You don’t think that after we got married we would still live with Richard, right?”
The face of surprise, shock, and finally understanding that she made touched my heart. Mandy looked at the keys, contemplating what to do with them.
She was still watching them, and suddenly I saw tears that fell on her hand. She was crying. I took her chin carefully and lifted her face.
Her eyes showed the happiness and deep love that she always had for me. I didn’t want to stop seeing that in her eyes, ever.
Her lip began to tremble, and she only managed to say, “Marcelo,” to me before throwing herself into my arms.
I shook that incredible moment from my mind, returning to the present.
“Don’t tell me the boss didn’t give you permission AGAIN. What will be this time? Food is very greasy, or alcohol is not good for your body, or the best and newest. You should rest and regain energy, Marce.”
“Hahaha,” all the boys laughed. I was not left behind. It was true, Mandy took great care of me. Even so, I would like her to relax with me sometimes.
“Enough, punks, you’re talking about my niece.” Richard came to her defense, pointing his finger at Martin and Xavier.
“You would like to have a woman who cares about you as much as she does for the champion. Those extra pounds that you have, Martin, would be in the past.
“And you, Xavier. Your body wouldn’t collapse in the second round after sweating like a pig.”
The two of them widened their eyes in surprise and immediately closed their mouths. I laughed like never before, seeing their faces. It was true what Richard told them. If it weren’t for Mandy, I wouldn’t be where I was now.
In the distance, we heard heels approaching the dressing rooms quickly. “Ooh, the boss is coming. Hide the snacks. Hahaha.”
The door slammed open, and there was Mandy, my wife. The first thing she saw coming in was me. And without wasting another second, she ran toward me.
And she leapt on top of me, entwining her arms around my neck and her legs around my waist. “Marce, you did it. I knew you would make it.”
She started giving me kisses all over my face. This demonstration of love in front of everyone inflated my pride. I loved showing everyone how such a beautiful and intelligent woman as Mandy loved me so much.
It was everything I asked for at the time. Along with knowing that she would always be there for me.
All my childhood and adolescence, I grew up without love. I do not remember a moment when my mother or father kissed me.
Despite the years of being with Mandy, I was still hungry and in need of her kisses. I needed to know that her love would be available to me every day for the rest of our lives.
With the hug over, I put Mandy on the floor. She turned to see everyone, and her cheeks turned red. I couldn’t believe that after all this time, she was still blushing.
“Hello everyone.” Mandy narrowed her eyes and looked at us suspiciously. “What were you talking about?”
“Ah! Ha, ha, my love, don’t waste your time on them. Did you like the fight?”
Mandy turned her attention to me, and her suspicious look immediately disappeared, replaced by one of adoration.
“You were great as always. I can’t believe how hard you hit him. His head shook for minutes before hitting the floor. I am very proud of you, my love, very proud.”
Mandy hugged me again. After we broke our embrace, she turned to Richard and kissed him hello. “Hi, Dad. What did you think of the champion?”
Richard narrowed his eyes, saying, “I have detected some things that we have to review and discuss when all is quiet. I’m counting on you, Mandy.”
“Ah! Sure, Dad. Whatever has to be done, count on me, you know that.”
“Enough talk. Now is the time to celebrate. Mandy, I’m afraid to inform you that you will be throwing a party at your house in honor of the champion.” Martin dropped the bomb.
Mandy widened her eyes in surprise. “But, but how?”
I turned to Martin, giving him a “fuck off” look. However, he only feigned ignorance by shrugging his shoulders.
I took Mandy’s hand and pulled her out of the locker room before she started arguing with them.
“Marce, I don’t think it’s good for your muscles after the fight. We need to give them a message to relax and not lose their elasticity.”
I signaled to everyone that we would meet at the house while I practically pulled Mandy by the hand through the corridors of the arena.
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