Autumn 2015 / Short Story and Poetry Contest
Boxer’s Bargain

Winner of the 2015 U of T Magazine Flash Fiction Contest

In Buenos Aires in 1951 my grandparents made a deal: My grandfather would watch ballet if my grandmother would endure boxing. And so my grandfather led her to the edge of the ring, and my grandmother changed: she enjoyed the bloody screams, the bright lights. Confined violence spread through the crowd.

And so my grandfather too, proudly, made his concession: he watched Julio Bocca take long swan steps across the stage in blue tights.

But later my grandmother and I sat in the beauty parlor and she told me that she had always loved boxing: an old beau had taken her –such a thrill! To see blood fall on the shirtless men. But she had to pretend to sacrifice something in order to get company at the ballet. She was getting a manicure, getting her hair dyed, and she said to me: Men’s weakness is always their vanity.


Alexandra Atiya is a writer, reporter, and poet who has contributed to publications internationally. She will receive her MA from the Centre for Medieval Studies at the University of Toronto in November 2015. She is currently working on a novel and collaborating on a graphic novel. You can follow her on twitter @lexiatiya

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