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Behind the Mask


Angry Johnny
Jun 7, 2006
New Frontier Wrestling
It's a quiet night in Nashville as we're waiting for the first round of the Grand Prix to begin. The days are clicking down and I'm like a kid on Christmas Eve. Rose and me went out during the day and did all the tourista type things, though probably less interesting to the majority. We looked at all the historical landmarks in and about the city, deliberately avoiding all the 'trendy' and 'theme' spots.

I think Belmont Mansion was Rose's favorite.

But now, it's late and we're tired.

I'm sound asleep, or close enough to it, so I don't notice that she's awake and sitting on the other side of the bed. She's a restless sleeper, I'm sound, it happens. I also barely noticed when she coughed, or when she got up.

Now, I'm wide awake.

It hit me like a wave. I heard the violent coughing and the retching - it echoed all around the bathroom and back again. I opened my eyes and saw she was gone and the light from the bathroom was on, and I got that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach.

You know the one, when you know exactly what's happening but you still hope it's not?

Rose, I said, as I got up.

"I'm fine," she replied, as she closed the door and continued her ungodly wretching.

Rose, I repeated, open the door.

No answer.

Rosie, it's okay. You can let me in.

Even with the door closed and the fan on, I could hear her crying.

I hate when she cries. I hate more, the fact that this is one thing I can do nothing about.

There's the flush, and the door unlocks. I opened it, and Rosie was sitting there on the floor, her knees against her chest. She flushed, to try and cover up the evidence, but there was a drop of blood on her white tanktop, and another on the floor next to her bare feet.

It's okay, I assured her, and I sat down next to her, wiped her mouth, and hugged her as tight as I could.

"I'm sorry," she said.

Sorry, she says. For what? For having severely damaged lungs? Eff that.

There's nothing to be sorry for, I told her. Even if there was, you've been good for months now, and you've only needed your inhaler once or twice a day since we got back from the desert.

So there was a little mini - breakdown in the middle of the night. I stayed up until she fell asleep, but I stayed up for a bit longer.

I don't know the medical name, but when she was little, Rosie was trapped in a burning house and suffered severe smoke inhalation. Her lungs have slowly deteriorated ever since, though they leveled out for a few years where her symptoms were simply akin to really bad asthma, and were able to be treated the same way.

I've known this girl for four years now, she's a trained wrestler, or at least, semi - trained. That's where we met, not because she wanted to wrestle, per se, but because the gym down the street where I trained was a lot more affordable than anything downtown.

If she had the wind, she could probably make a living at it. As it stands, she's a bartender and a part time college student, which is why I'll never stop inviting her on the road with me.

Call it what you will, but I'm pretty flippin' happy with that scenario.

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