I beat Braxton.
Beat him and held my head in disbelief and babbled like I was talkin' in
tongues and wondered what had made God finally stop shakin' me 'tween his
teeth. And decided that I just had to start livin' even more careful than
before, even though I thought I was livin' careful, decided I had to circle up
my wagons even tighter. And still, over and over to this day, I keep havin'
this same dream, me walkin' on a flat surface with holes everywhere, and just
thin little spaces between 'em to put my foot down on, and whump, I keep
fallin' through, catchin' myself at the armpits at the very last second, then
pullin' myself up again, tryin' to keep walkin'—God knows where—tryin' to step
more and more careful.
And now it's
comin', I can smell it, I can hear it, I can feel it comin', one last question;
go ahead, child, ask it:
Why would a very,
very, very careful man fight Tyson?
stares at the ceiling. There is silence on the phone.
Maybe he would
answer this the simple way, ask her to hold a dollar bill in her hand and teach
her how to multiply it by 13 million.
And maybe he would
answer it the hard way: Oh, Shelly, it's so hard for a man of 31 to
understand—how in the world could a little girl like you?
pretend somethin'. Let's pretend that, for some reason, it was very bad and
dangerous to cry, it could kill you, and so you never let yourself do it, you
just always smiled and smiled like all the world was dandy. And that part of
you just got locked away, all those tears just got more and more backed up, a
whole swimmin' pool of tears.
And then one day
someone handed you an onion, and because you had no choice, it was all right to
cry, you could cry and cry and cry, let out that whole swimmin' pool of tears!
Imagine how great that would feel!
Baby, do you
Tyson's my onion! No, I don't need to cry, that was just
pretend, what I need to let go is something different. And it's all" right
this time because I never once asked God to let me fight that man, I just
waited and waited and finally it happened on its own. That's my sign that it's
O.K. And because he fights for blood like no one else I've ever fought, because
he makes it do-or-die, I got no choice—I have to let go to survive, I have to
wait till he makes a mistake and then go wild—bam, bam, bam—like I've never
gone wild before—bam, bam, bam—I have to let that poor crazy man inside me out
of his coffin and run absolutely wild, and God'll understand, no paybacks,
baby; God won't mind!
eyes leave the ceiling. Of course not, no, he couldn't tell her that.