"If you don't give up," he says, sitting next to me on the curb. Little droplets of rain are darkening the concrete in front of me.
"I'll try," I say. "Logistics, you know."
"Armies march on it," he says, resting his arms on his knees. "Moms learn martial arts by it."
"Badly," I mutter.
"Yeah, well, you weren't ever very good onna treadmill," he says. "You bore easy. You need some challengin'."
"You reckon so?" I say, wry.
"I do, I do," he says, grinning lazily.
"It's like there's a big mental block between me and hitting people," I say. "I had it in fencing too."
"Yup," he says. "Don't matter. Just keep at it."
"I guess." I shake my head. "Aikido was different."
"You don't need aikido," he says with a snort. "You don't need no one to teach you how to be more passive-aggressive. You gonna go in for hittin', Mom, for Pete's sake, actually throw a freakin' punch."
I smile at that. "I'll keep trying. Maybe I'll make it through that mental block."
"All we ever asked," he says. "You take care of your body... you earn your writin' time."
"Right," I say.
And then I am left with the so-rare quiet in my head, enough emptiness that the soft patter of rain can fill it and wash it clean. I watch the drops darken the parking lot for a while, feel them dampen the shoulders of my uniform.
Then I get up and go inside. Hour five of tae kwon do training. Ki hap!