Four hundred calories in the last forty eight hours.
It was around four thirty in the morning when I woke
and put on my singlet with my sweats over it and I saw
the snow on the branches out my window it was inches high
balanced as it was
so I knew down on the ground
it must be even higher.
And I walked down without turning on any lights and got my shoes
yes my shoes!
that my mother always told me not to wear except in the gym
but look, I don’t want to wear a pair and carry a pair
and I’m only outside for like two seconds
from the door to the car and the car to the gym.
So not to wake anyone and because it should be any moment
I just stood
peered out the front door and to think,
when I had gone to bed the world was full of color.
It was brown and still some green and the gray of the street
and the cars themselves and the houses too were all red and green and yellow
but now it was all white with black trim
just white with some edges of black and that was it
oh they’d ruin it all!
they hadn’t even hit yet,
and it looked so level and clean with no tire tracks or footprints
like someone had just laid and leveled wet cement over everything
so it was a shame it couldn’t stay like that and the world
had to be lived in.
Then I saw the truck come slowly
I could see it before I heard it
and he pulled in growling like diesel does
and the white exhaust floating in the air behind him like spirits
and I stepped out the door and to the truck.
It was not snowing now
and you could tell it was colder now than when it had snowed
because the snow was like creme brulee
with a crust on top and soft snow beneath it.
It was an awful trick because it soaked your pants up to the calf
and it left you walking like a drunk man that keeps
walking off a step he doesn’t know is there.
So I walked and left holes, more than footprints,
and climbed in the truck and there was Dale in the driver side
and he looked at my feet in my wrestling shoes and said
“you didn’t wear boots?”
and I said “you sound like my mother,”
which I knew would bother him
’cause he was always trying real hard to be one of us.
He shrugged it off and I appreciated that he didn’t try and pull back from it
by saying something like “yeah who cares” but instead just let it go
but then when he started talking I could see why
it was because he had something on his mind.
“We should make it in plenty of time,” he started.
“It’s about two hours up.”
“And the first match won’t start until around 11.”
“Right.” I’m hungry.
“So look, this is the morning I wait for all year. This is the reason I bought this thing.” He pointed out his windshield at the plow attatched to his truck. “I can make a hundred and fifty per driveway. I’ve already got them lined up. Lined ’em up before it even snowed. They said ‘when the first snow comes, do our driveway and it’s one fifty.’ And now it’s here and I have to do it. I can’t do it tonight. The reason they pay is cause it’s already done when wake up. I’ve got six houses. That’s nine hundred for maybe two hours, including drive time.” He wasn’t asking me.
Here’s the thing: I coulda got a ride from anyone.
Here’s the thing: I was riding up with him like a favor so he didn’t have to do the two hours to the school in vermont alone.
Here’s the thing: you get there so early because weigh-ins start at six and then after you weigh in you can eat and four hundred calories in forty eight hours.
But I shrugged and “fine” but I was hot you know
and I knew he knew because he had been on the team in high school
but his weight class had been heavy weight anyway and those heavy weights
they don’t know anything about weight
it’s like half the sport it seems and they never had any of it
with their eating and joking and standing on the scale in shirts
and they roll around like bears and gas out during sprints
and plow driveways on snowy mornings when you wake up at four thirty to drive there
and being hungry made me not care about trying small talk
and he didn’t care either because of nine hundred dollars
so we just sat there driving in the silent white world of four thirty on a snowy morning,
the plows ruining it all.