The advanced kickboxing class had ended for the day. Roy Jones bustled into the the dojo's back room and put a pair of twenty pound dumbells back to the top shelf. Clack. Clack. Clack.
Sitting in the corner beside the pile of exercise mats was a sixteen year old girl, typing madly away on her laptop. She was propped against the cracked concrete wall, too engrossed to notice the spider that traversed the linoleum. Momentarily, there was a lapse in the clacks as she stared at the screen, gnawing at her fingernails.
The senior kickboxing instructor watched in amusement as she grinned, probably entertained by an online conversation. Her long, black hair was messily tied into a ponytail; Roy had never seen her in a different hairstyle.
“You're busy as always,” he remarked, trying to glance over her shoulder. She had quickly switched tabs to her email inbox, but her godfather saw she was browsing City Bank's online banking site.
“I've got to cram for midterms next week. These matrixes are driving me insane.”
“Why don't you take a quick break and practice your reverse roundhouse on the bag with Kev?” Roy said as he pointed to the hanging bag in the main studio. It was receiving a heavy beating by his son, Kevin. The rafters it was attached to groaned tiredly, barely supporting the swinging weight.
“OK, but I won't be using the bag today,” the girl said reluctantly. She stowed her electronics into her tote bag, and the holes in her socks seemed to grow larger with each shuffle towards the main studio.
Although Kevin was only two years her senior, his bulky frame towered over Sen. She was five foot six, but she was dwarfed by the muscular teen. To the bystander, the sparring match seemed hopeless, a fight between David and Goliath. Ever since Sen's parents had died eight years ago, she had attended Roy's classes religiously, as if to escape the blame she had cast over herself. Her eyes were often vacant, staring off into the distance, likely recalling the role she played in her parent's untimely death.
But she held her ground.