I have been upgraded! I used to be a no-belt in the corner, dressed in gray and blue sweats while everyone else looked swanky in their white gi. But no longer! I too have joined the ranks of the few, the proud, the worthy. During our exercises, my gi started to come undone, and a kind orange-belt helped me to tie it back on. I learned that orange is the belt right above my own, and I feel a kinship to her just because we are both on the same side of the scale. At the end, a blue-belt clapped me on the shoulder and gave me one of those you-did-good-kid smiles because yeah, I did good.
Pain does not exist in this dojo.
I punched so hard my knuckles are swollen, though most of the damage is on my right. The swelling is making my fingers stiff, and I expect a beautiful bruise come tomorrow. My father, appalled that his daughter was coming home with tissue damage, said he would buy me sparring gear.
I had just settled down in front of the television with a bag of frozen broccoli over my hands when the doorbell rang, and (of course) no one could get the door but me. I went to open it, still in my gi, broccoli bag in hand--it's our neighbor Joakim who wants a bicycle pump. I fished one out of the umbrella stand and handed it to him; he glanced at my bag of broccoli, decided against asking, and disappeared out into the darkness.