I Wouldn’t Give My Right Arm

I Wouldn’t Give My Right Arm
I’m pretty good at handling cosmic injustices — cancer, two burned down houses, my mom’s Alzheimer’s, and my dad’s myasthenia gravis. My kid gets migraines, my husband has gut problems, and my tomato plants got a funky disease last season that left them with a spongy black spot on the bottom of their otherwise perfect fruit. These issues don’t cause me angst because no one did them on purpose; they fall under the “stuff happens” category, and everyone has a story about their own unique pile, even people whose lives look perfect. But when I see a human being who chooses to be mean instead of kind, I tend to lose my mind. Injustice prickles my skin and inflames my passion. It pisses me off. That’s why I love my new fitness class. Five days a week, I let a soft-spoken Irish guy harass, cajole, and inspire me to use muscles my body forgot. Chemo took some of my physical power in exchange for saving my life, but now I’m working to get it back. It’s true that under my breath, I curse that Irish guy sometimes — while I try to do a sit up, for example. But it’s also true that I simultaneously bless him for helping me recover. When the workout is over, I feel strong. My balance is coming back. Jason, the coach, is creative. Some of the exercises we do sound more like the names of cocktails: Romanian Side Winders, Sling Jacks, and Prison Lunges. But my favorite drills involve the punching bag. “Jab, jab, cross, hook,” Jason instructs us. “Then elbows and kicks.” I pull gloves on with my teeth the way I saw Rocky do it in the movies, and I approach the bag. Then the room goes silent, everyone fades away, and I’m alone with the guy who assaulted me on the beach in Mexico. The priest who abused my sibling. The guy who sold m
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