Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A Study in Unsatisfactory Endings *

    “Kata Garuma is the name of this next move we’re going to teach you.” A line of Judo students clad in blue uniforms looked ahead to Mike as he spoke. “Another name for it is the Fireman’s carry. Ready? Dave.” A smaller man hopped from kneeling position to be used in Mike’s example. As he was thrown onto the ground I could hear the clap of his hand on the mat.
    After a little more demonstration, we were split into groups of two. My sister Jessica hauled me onto her back before letting drop to the plastic mats below. Oh, how I dislike Judo lessons. I felt unsure or my self and bored most of the time. I hit the blue mat again. The only thing Judo was good for was bragging rights; and having the third out of eight rankings wasn’t that impressive, especially if I couldn’t do much with it. I wiped the hair out of my eyes.
    “Do you want to try it now?” Jessica gave me the option.
    I shook my head, “No, that’s okay. This is fine.”
     Two claps in a row and everyone sat on the mat. “Alright!” Mike’s voice reached the corners of the room. “Let’s have a demonstration from... Alex. And how about you- what’s your name?”
    Michael shook his head. “I was riding the four-wheeler and landed it wrong, so my back is too sore to really do that. Sorry.”
    “Ah, okay. Seth? How about you.” Seth stood up and walked over. The orange belt showed vividly against the white uniform. Alex hefted Seth onto his back slowly and then flipped him off.
    There was a heavy thud and then- it was quiet. The air itself seemed to be waiting. Why wasn’t Seth moving? My breath skipped and I tensed as Mike walked over to the still white figure and bent over him. The room was still unnervingly quiet. “Seth, are you all right? Seth!”
My eyes stayed fixed on the form sprawled on the floor, but I could sense the tension in everyone around me. Unsure. Waiting. And then he moved. Relief rushed in as he sat up and pushed himself to the edge of the mat. Something still didn’t feel quite right when I watched the way he was moving, but I mentally assured myself that he’d be okay.
“All right, line up according to size and weight, we’re going to do Randori.” What?! Was this mandatory? We had never been required to do Randori before. You just volunteered if you wanted to.
    “Everyone’s going to do it this time.” Oh no. I ran through options in my head: maybe I could leave? No. Maybe I could just go stand in the bathroom until it was over. Um, no. Dad and Mom would tell me I had to do it, and besides; we were all sitting down already and it would be too obvious if I got up now.
    There was movement on the other side of the room. Dad and Mom- and Seth. They were leaving. What? Why were they leaving??
I hopped around the other sitting students and headed toward Dad and Mom. “Where are you going??”
Then Jessica was beside me, “Becky, go sit down, okay?”
“I need to know where they’re taking Seth!” Worry flooded my voice.
“We’re going to the Emergency Room,” Mom explained to me in a hurry. “Seth doesn’t remember anything that’s happened in the past few months.”
A tide of shock and worry spread in my mind. He didn’t - remember?? “Can I go too? Please??”
“No, you better stay her with the rest of the kids. Most likely it won’t take us too long.” I bit back my urge to beg to go along again, and turned back to sit down again as Jessica had told me to. I turned my head to look out the window, and I watched as Seth made his way down the sidewalk with Dad and Mom on either side of him.

*[Much thanks to Tierney for the brilliant title.] ;-)

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