Alyssa glances at her feet, letting out a sigh. This was supposed to be taking the edge off.
Her eyes return back up to the punching bag, hand clenching in a fist as she throws one punch. She then brings her hand up again throwing another, and another, and another. Each punch represented a thought. Anger, fear, anxiety, Randy, Mariella, and then back through the list again. Each thought was supposed to disappear with each punch.
She then wounds herself up, set to throw another hard stiff punch, though misses and falls down on her face.
“Alyssa!” She hears yelled through the room as the door clicks closed, following by a furry foot steps coming to meet her. “Are you okay?” She nods her head as she sits up, catching her dad’s eyes.
“I’m fine – just missed my step,” she answers as she stands up, brushing her hand off.
“This is why we always say not to be in here alone and always have someone around in case something happens. How many times do I need to tell you that?” She then rolls her eyes, not believing that she was getting scolded like a child. “But based on that punch, I’m guessing you’re here because you want to get away from something.”
“Or maybe I’m pushing extra strength because I know I need it.” She then bites her tongue realizing how that came out as Dale holds the bag before her.
“Are we back to thinking that we’re weaker because we can’t use an arm? Is that part of your motivation?” She then lets out a sigh and shakes her head.
“I’ve come to realize that I’m fine as the one-handed bandit and can kick anyone’s ass. I’ve also come to realize that this is what I’m stuck with – a hand to do everything, and a hand to dangle at everybody. Oh wait, that dangling hand will eventually just be a stub right?” Dale nods his head as he looks at her with sympathy. “I don’t need a pitty party. I don’t need people feeling bad around me. It’s a fact of life, and I’ve pretty much figured out this so it’s not a problem.”
“So that’s not the fury behind the punch?” She shakes her head. “Then what is, because I know you better than you think. You’d always do a normal work-out routine with cycling, stretches, yoga – except when you’re angry. Then you come down here to old ring and let it loose.” Sometimes she cursed how well her dad knew her, after all.
“Feelings in general, okay?” He then looks at her puzzled.
“I thought you had that under contro-”
“I have it more under control than you probably realize. I got everything that I went under control with myself. I’ve dealt with it and handled it. I’ve put the shit that he put me through behind me. Actually, that’s damn motivation to win the championship this year.” Dale couldn’t help but smile at the determination laced in her voice.
“So then why is it feelings in general?” She then lets out a sigh as she leans back against the one wall, taking the bandages off her hand. She knew she wasn’t making it out there without a confession. Her mom knew already so why did it matter?
“Chase.” An even more puzzled look forms on Dale’s face. “Before you ask, we’re fine. We’re still happily in love, and happy together, and everything is good there.”
“Does it deal with yesterday?” She nods her head slowly. “Did he say something in the trailer?”
“He’s still dealing with everything accordingly – anxiety, panic, fear, lashing out. That didn’t do anything to affect me because I get that already and seen through that. It’s just focus on helping him in anyway that he’ll let me in moving forw-”
“So you’re frustrated because he won’t just open up?” She lets out a sigh and shakes her head.
“To be honest, I think mom gets this more than you’ll get this because she went through it with you. Does that help?” Dale then looks on confused as he sits on a stool.
“You told your mom before you told me? I’m surprised!” She then smiles.
“Let’s just say that she can relate and it just came out in a comment, okay?” Dale nods his head as a smile forms on his face.
“You’re as scared as Chase is about him returning to racing….” She nods her head as she focuses her eyes on the floor. “It’s understandable. You almost lost him a couple times. It makes you want to cherish life more, hold on to those moments, and be fearful that time will actually run out.” She then looks up at him, surprised. “That’s why I understood why your mom was afraid. That’s why I heard out her feelings, and talked her through them.”
“I haven’t told Chase, yet….” He then lets out a sigh, not surprised.
“Because he’s not the type to open up so you’re afraid of how he’ll take it?” She nods her head. “I can’t blame that, actually. However, I know how much he loves you and I know he’ll do anything for you. So therefore, I think it’d be a benefit for you to say something. He’ll want to talk and assure you and comfort you so he’ll give that assurance that you need. In return, it may be what he needs to tell himself to overcome his hurtle.”
“So you’re saying that I should just go home and say something?” Dale nods his head. “I guess….”
“You’re not going to move forward if you don’t, and you can’t be coming to my basement every day to punch it away.” She then chuckles.
“I’ve always wondered why you didn’t take this down…” Dale then stands up and walks over to the ring in the middle, leaning over the side.
“It’s good for anger management, as you say. A pair of friends can come here with gloves and get everything out of their system. I could also come down here and do what you’re doing. It’s better than punching that person in the face.” She then chuckles, nodding her head.
“So you won’t mind if I drag Dillon’s ass down here next time he pisses me off?” Dale laughs.
“I’d actually pay for that because I know you’d kick his ass.” She then chuckles as he walks over and wraps an arm around her. “Keep what I said in mind, okay? It’ll work out…”
Tony walks across the tarmac, stopping as he sees the young man before him. Taking a deep breath, he walks over, watching as the checklist continues.
“Where are you going?” He asks out loud, catching the young man’s attention as he looks back.
“A small flight to clear my head,” Chase answers as he focuses back on his list.
“Do you want to talk?” Chase shakes his head as he focuses on his list. “I heard you were at the track yester-”
“I didn’t make any laps, before you ask. I chickened out because of my fears.” Chase then stops, setting the pen down as he takes a deep breath.
“I think you did the right thing. It’s always good to know your limits and where to draw the line. Some people don’t know that, and they get themselves in trouble. I applaud you for realizing that.” Chase then looks up, looking over his shoulder at Tony.
“Thanks….I guess. Do you want to go tell everyone else in the world that?” Tony looks on confused.
“Backlash from the guys?” Chase lets out a sigh and shakes his head.
“They won’t say anything to my face, but you have to imagine what they’re thinking.” Tony laughs and shakes his head. “What?”
“Crew guys are family. They care about you more than they care about that piece of machinery they work on. They all know what you’ve been through. That’s why they’re there to support you. That’s why they’ll go to a bunch of failed tests if it means seeing their driver back when he’s ready. That’s why they’ll have your back against any person who would say that. So do not say that again, got it?” Chase lets out a sigh, nodding his head.
“I thought I had my hands wrapped around everything. I thought I found the control that I needed over my anxiety, fears, emotions. I thought I could stop lashing out, put things into perspective, and find what I wanted – myself, again. But yet, sitting there in the trailer, I was completely frozen and stuck in that state again. Now looking back, it just fills me with so many thoughts…” Tony takes a deep breath as he places a hand on Chase’s shoulders.
“I hate to say it, but you just realized your human. Don’t feel so bad – been there, done that.” Chase then looks at Tony, surprised. “I thought I could just do it, too. I thought I was the all mighty, what we built me up to be with my attitude, and I could just get back to it. You’d be surprised how wrong I was and how many thoughts tormented with my mind. I wondered whether my leg was fully healed; I wondered whether I could push that limit and not be afraid of death. I toyed with my emotions for emotions, and like you – I felt like I was edge of control when I should’ve been in control.”
“So how did you do it?” Tony thinks it over as he keeps his eyes focused on Chase.
“I kept working on those feelings, like we talked about before. I talked to who I needed to talk to. I let myself open those doors that I wanted to close. Then I kept pushing the boundaries more and more. I kept challenging myself to the point where I proved that I could do it. Next time you go to the track, push yourself to at least get in the car and make a couple laps. Then the next time, push it a little more. You’d be surprised what you’re capable of, and how you can make that fear and anxiety just go away.” Chase nods his head, understanding.
“Thanks. I’ll remember that…” Tony rubs his shoulder.
“As long as you’re past what you were thinking before and know there’s a way out, it’ll be fine…” Chase smiles as he thinks back to then,
“Trust me, I’m beyond that. I know it’ll work out – one way or another. So, why are you even here at the airport anyway?” Tony glances over at the plane.
“Heading back to Indiana, home. I did what I needed to do here with the team so now it’s time to get out of here.” Chase rolls his eyes as he looks back to his checklist.
“You’re living the dream, man. Safe flight.”
“Same to you, kid.” Tony then heads off as Chase watches him, before returning back to his list.