Friends Off the Mat I used to joke around with some friends that I don’t have any friends outside of jiu jitsu. Then they quit training and I didn’t have any friends to joke around with any more. There is some sort of irony at work here given the very intimate and intense nature of the relationships we make on the mat.
Adam was a really good friend of mine. We met in Jiu jitsu class and if we hadn’t met there I would never have met him because we had absolutely nothing in common. He was one of those guys who dresses in all things tactical. He had a slim fit tactical jacket with too many zippers. He had tactical fit pants with cargo pockets and apparently very functional zippers. He never had much to say at first in the elevator on the way up to the gym but it didn’t matter. When we trained he was always focused and never went to hard. We even had beers a few times after class and I learned he liked this girl who used to train and that he did some kind of consulting work. If possible, he was even more into training than me. I mean, at least I have a cat at home.
I thought Anna was just using the gym as a meetmarket. But then I realized that she was coming consistently and not just to meat guys. Definitely not to meet guys as it turned out. Although she was a girl, she was actually pretty good. Like I said she was consistent, and she had good intensity. The three of us, Adam, Anna, and me, sometimes ended up working together as a threesome and it was always good training. Sometimes we’d have beers afterwards. We would always talk about training and the different characters on the mat. One time Anna said, “This must be what it’s like to hang around Jedis, talking about training all the time.” Those were good times although Adam did seem to make Anna uncomfortable.
At first when I stopped seeing them in class I didn’t think much of it. Later when I ran into Adam he was very evasive about coming back to training. He kept talking about fire twirling and how he couldn’t stand the gays. Then he mentioned that Anna’s girlfriend had moved to Hong Kong for work and that Anna had gone with her. When I finally realized he had quit I felt confused
and not a little betrayed. But then again, I had already got used to not seeing him, and I had some new training partners who were becoming really good friends.
I only ran into him because we ended up living in the same complex and sometimes we’d run into each other in the elevator. It would always be as were scrambling to meet the garbage truck. The last few times I saw him he always had large black bags to get rid of. The last few times I saw him he would mention how the power was out in his place and about how it was beginning to stink. He was really losing it.
Some months later while we were warming up at the gym, someone mentioned Adam had been found in his apartment. The rent and the utilities hadn’t been paid in months. When security had forced the lock they thought the place was empty until they tripped over his corpse.
The house was dark when I woke up today. I guess the power is out. I hope I don’t have to take the stairs.