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Equality and Balance: Part 5 by Ben Sparks, staff reporter

Oh man this was going to be hard. Of all people I know how awkward it is to randomly run into an ex. Especially if you’re with current girlfriend or boyfriend.“So how did things end? Was it on bad terms?” I asked.“I don’t exactly wanna talk about it,” she said. A couple of minutes later, a different waiter came up to us asking what we wanted to drink.

I got a coke and Sabrina got a raspberry lemonade. After what had just happened things were pretty awkward, and there was a silence over us as we sipped our drinks. I saw Darius walking past out of the corner of my eye, he was dark skinned but I couldn’t tell whether or not he was black, he had bushy eyebrows and looked to be a bit big around the shoulders, though he obviously had a little gut which poked out under his dress shirt. He flashed a glance in our direction and I saw Sabrina pick her head up and look at him, I took her hand in mine and she gave me a little smile.“Just calm down, I’m sure it was a long time ago.”

She squeezed my hand and smiled, but I could tell that it was going to be bothering her the entire evening.The dinner was short due to the awkwardness of the situation, so after I dropped Sabrina off at her house I decided to walk home so i could think. I started realizing how little me and Sabrina really knew each other. I knew I liked her personality and the way she is, but now I wanna learn about the way she was, and about what made her that way today. When I reached home it was nighttime, and my mom was the only person home.

“Where were you?” She asked me.
“I was out with Sabrina,” I replied.
“Aww, you two are so cute. Did you have a good time?”
“We almost did until she saw her ex.”

Her face turned into one of horror.”Oh my God, you didn’t get into a fight with him did you?” “No mom, I’ve never fought in front of Sabrina and I would like to keep it that way.”I walked into my room and collapsed on my bed. I closed my eyes for a second and before I knew it, it was morning.I woke up and stretched out with a big yawn resembling a jungle cat.

It was ten thirty in the morning, and I had set up an appointment at the MMA place at twelve. I got up and gathered my towel to head to the shower. I felt the warm water splash over me, completely wiping away all the sleepiness in my system. It looked sunny outside, and the clouds had a glow as if they were on fire. It didn’t seem too cold outside, so I threw on some basketball shorts and a loose t-shirt to head to the dojo. My mom was still in bed, and my brother wasn’t home as usual, so there was no one to say bye too. I grabbed my keys and wallet, and headed out the door to the bus stop.

The Q43 came quickly, and the bus wasn’t that packed. I took a seat in the back of the bus. It was hard to miss the dojo with the big letters out front reading “HIDDEN VALLEY MMA.” I hopped of the bus and stepped through the big glass doors.

I walked in to a receptionist area. There was a counter off to the side with a receptionist behind it and benches that you could sit on. There were also big glass windows that allowed you to view deeper into where people were training, hitting pads, punching bags and doing all types of physical activity. The girl sitting behind the desk stood up and came over to greet me.

“Hello sir, how may I help you?” She asked.
“Umm my name’s Barry. I set up an appointment yesterday… so, yeah here I am.”
She smiled and gave a little chuckle. She was short and a little chubby with slightly orange skin and a very high voice.
“Hi Barry. Well my name’s Stacy and welcome to Hidden Valley MMA, do you need to change or are you okay right now?” She asked me.
“Yeah I’m good. I don’t need to change or anything,” I replied.
“Okay well you’re a little early so if you could just take a seat then I’ll hook you up with one of our instructors when you’re class starts. Then, after the class you’ll meet with our owner to discuss prices and such, okay? Any questions?” She said flashing me another huge smile. I sat down.
“Nah, I’m good.”

And then she walked back behind the desk. I sat down and started to watch the other people training; the current class looked pretty advanced. Everybody was throwing crazy combos on the pads and sending the punching bags swinging all around the room. I could hear the students yelling as they threw each punch and sweat was dripping from everyone’s brow. I hoped that I would be able to keep up once I started. After watching for a little bit, Stacy came over to me.

“Okay its time for your class, let me introduce you to your instructor Tony.”
I was pretty nervous and I felt like it was judgement day. Time to see what MMA was all about.

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