(Heavily Inspired from the movie, The Wrestler, 2008.)
Someone once asked me, "What is the most heartbreaking thing you've ever experienced?". People usually ask me questions like that. Being a writer, I guess, I've been prone to pain. But not like my teacher, Mr. Andrews.
I had known Mr. Andrews since middle school. My town was a little one, so teachers were not in plenty in the town. So Mr. Andrews used to do a double shift. A middle school teacher, and a high school teacher as well. He was a well-built man, standing at 6'2". Nobody actually knew of his life. Even though I was taught by him for four years, we never knew anything about his life, except that his name was Andrews Jacobs, and he knew about life. So it was my last day of High School. I was graduating. I got to Mr. Andrews to thank him, and for the first time, I saw the man smile. Turned out, he lived just right next block to my house. So a year back, after five years of graduating, I thought of paying him a visit.
He opened the door and recognised me. I was amazed that he remembered my name. We eventually started talking, and he asked me about my life. I told him about the writer's block I was having by living in baffling New York city, and I came there for the peace. I asked him about his life, and he just smiled. It intrigued me more to know about it. He went on.
"I was born in 1953, in Texas. My father was a professional wrestler. My mother, on the other hand, was a simple homemaker. One day, I woke up to see something. Dad was hitting my mom, and I couldn't stand it. I was 12, at the time. There was no way, I could have a professional wrestler down, so I got down and grabbed his nuts. When he got down, my mom hugged me, and we ran away. Little did I know, that this was the first, yet not the last time I was running away from my house".
I was intensely submerged into the story he was telling me. So much that I forgot my phone had rung several times.
"I followed his footsteps anyway, and I became a professional wrestler myself. I was wrestling in NWA, AWA, WWWF, and various other promotions. Sleeping with girls was a common thing for me. I was a celebrity now. Or so as I thought I was. Then, I got a call one day from one of the girls I had slept with. I never left my number with her, but she got my number through someone. She told me that I impregnated her, and she bore a daughter. I disowned her, and my daughter. I disowned them. I thought I was a celebrity, and I couldn't let a child, born out of wedlock, destroy my career. So I moved on, not to hear from her again. But then, the 80s were over. New, faster, more agile wrestlers were taking our places. I was now an old man in the business. But I couldn't get it into my head. I had this ego, all over me. I got into drugs, and destroyed my life. So, to escape from everything, I came here, and became a teacher", he said, with a glim in his eyes.
I was stunned. The man I knew, wasn't the Mr. Andrews I was talking to. "But you look still in a good shape", I said. "That's because I'm training. I'm training for my last match", he said. I was even more stunned, and rightfully so. He was nearly 63 now. I was shocked by the very fact he wanted to wrestle at that age. But his story, didn't end there.
"This match means a lot to me, you know. A couple of months back, I called Cassidy. Cassidy is the name of my illegitimate daughter. Funny, that word, makes it worse. She is my daughter, and I regret not accepting that. She forgave me. She really forgave me. We were to meet again at a dinner, to reconcile. But fate would have it, and the sleeping pills and painkillers I took, had me oversleeping. When I went to her house, she was furious. And this time, she disowned me. The wheel of fortune, had turned. Wrestling, took her away from me, one more time", he said, nearly breaking into tears, and added, "I left her an invitation to my match at the stadium. I hope to see her there".
"Do you need a glass of water, Mr. Andrews?", I asked, as he was nearly weeping. Before he could say anything, I stood up and went to the kitchen. As I was getting water, I saw a document lying on the kitchen floor. It was a medical report. I just took it in my pocket, and didn't read it then. I gave the glass of water to him, and was about to leave, when he asked, "Can you drop me at the stadium, tomorrow?". "Sure", I said, and smiled. That night, I didn't sleep. I was amazed about how, the teacher I knew, wasn't the person I thought he was. Yet, the next day came.
While changing my clothes, I took out that medical report and read it. It clearly stated that Mr. Andrews cannot take another match on him. His heart would burst out open if his beating went over 80 beats per minute. I had no idea how to handle it, but nevertheless, I took him to the ring. I hadn't seen him more happy to see his fellow men, respecting him and people showing love to him. He knew it was the last of him, that they would see, and he wanted to make it special. "Mr. Andrews, why are you doing this?", I asked him, before he went to the ring. "What?", he asked. "Wrestling, I saw your report. You can be killed out there", I said. And what he said to me next, I will never forget that. "It doesn't matter if I live, or die tonight. These people are what defines me. My fellow wrestlers are not the part of society who demeans me, and have me judging all the time. They respect me. I was born to wrestle, and if it means I die there, I'm perfect with that".
He said, and went to the ring. I saw him clutching his chest at various times. I know he was in pain. But he was putting on a great show. He was putting over the other wrestler over him very well. And when I thought he would snap, he went on the top rope, and gazed at the room. Maybe he was searching for Cassidy. He realised that she wasn't there. He just stood on the top rope, saluted the audience, smiled and jumped.
He died, repenting his sins. He died, doing what he loved to do. He died, doing what took everything from him. And that sort of pain, I never wish even my worst enemies would have to feel.