The main doors were thrown open and there she stood. Dressed in white from head to toe, except for a blue belt around her waist. Her father stood beside her. She looked at him and nodded. He nodded back before they walked forward, in step together.
Many heads turned when they entered. A chap standing near the door looked at his watch. A red-faced boy fanned his face with a booklet. Although it was snowing, the temperature was soaring inside.
As she and her father made her way to the top, some people gave her a thumbs up. They moved slowly, she set the pace and her father respectfully stayed beside her. This was supposed to be her big day.
She stopped beside a row of men wearing shirts and black ties. They tried to shake her hand, but she couldn’t free herself of the crutches so they reverted to tapping her arm gently instead. The tallest of them looked at her leg and shook his head.
-It’s awful, he said, bad timing.
-Yes, she replied, I was ready for today.
-There’ll be other days, he said.
-Maybe, she said and looked around the room.
-You still wore it. He pointed towards her suit.
-A mark of respect, she said.
She had dreamed of this day for a long time, but the dream ended on Tuesday evening. Months of preparation smashed to pieces in the break of a bone. Taken from training to the hospital in an ambulance, she’d cried for the trophy she wouldn’t now win.
Beside her, two girls took to the ring, their fight about to start. A group of black belts did patterns across the room. She gripped her crutches and held back tears. I’ll fight again, she thought.