The fighter returned one year to the town of his youth. Each step down the high street brought comparisons between the here and now and the here and then. So much had changed in so few years. The shop fronts had transformed along with the shops inside. New configurations and utility brought recollections of the rythmns of hum drum youthful wanderings around the town with assorted, now distant, friends. As he walked along, the fighter looked into the faces of people out shopping, looking for familiarity. Although he saw no one he recognised, the town hadn’t changed so much that they types of face had become unrecognisable. People still had the same expressions of purpose. He didn’t know if this was a comfort or a mark of the continuation of limitations he himself had fled. At least these faces brought no regrets.
The pub in which the fighter had made his first tentative steps into the adult world loomed at one side. He stepped in to find somewhere more sanitized than he remembered. The tables into which he and his mates had carved their names, into the repeatedly rutted palimpsests, had been replaced by cleanly varnished pine tables. The old place mat fox-hunting scenes that had decorated the walls had been switched for abstract poster shop art prints. The atmosphere of risk and delight had become tasteful and comfort free, no longer of any specific place. “Who will have any memories of this place now?” he thought to himself, leaving without even a polite drink.
No matter how well things are going now when it comes to love and even sex there are things you regret from the past. Most other things can be made up for. The fighter found that most past insecurities could be put behind him in the act of giving and taking blows with well matched opponents. But a missed sexual opportunity could never be made up for. Even sleeping with past crushes was hopeless, as the individual now was not the person desired before, physically, mentally or historically.
Walking through the town created new missed opportunities. Trysts that he had not contemplated till now, but ones that would have prevented past mistakes, that might have filled a yearning spurned by his actual target.
The fighter felt old, despite the fact he was some years from gaining any respect for maturity. He saw boyish men he would once have shied away from, intimidated by their new found confidence, gathering harems of giggling girls around them. It would all switch around in a few years. These boys interesting to the girls would spread into mundane oblivion, and the girls would turn out to be boring too. He had never noticed the girls at school and on jaunts around town who had become interesting women. Missed opportunities.
The fighter suddenly remembered his purpose, and tried to recall the face of tonight opponent. Nothing came, but the name was familiar.