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  • Jesse Irizarry

Why I Have A Sword

I didn’t have a lot of friends when I was a little kid. My stutter was staggeringly worse than it is now so it was really difficult for me to connect with other kids. Kids can be little jerks but they’re also just confused about the world around them, and when they meet another kid who can hardly speak a full sentence, they have no reference on how to handle it. So they usually decide not to.

I wasn’t regularly in many social situations so there was even less a chance for me to make friends who could deal with how long it took me to finish a sentence.

I spent most of my time watching movies, looking at comic books, and watching cartoons, usually about superheroes.

Stories about knights, ninjas, samurai warriors, martial artists, and pirates always took my mind on wild adventures. I remember being glued watching the long sword duel between the Dread Pirate Roberts and Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride.

I’d take out books from the library about samurai, knights, ninjas, and warriors who fought with swords and spend days looking at the images and learning about them. Days that would have been unbearably long spent alone if not for my daydreams animated from those pages.

Anytime I’d see a toy sword at a store, I’d beg my father to buy it for me.

It wasn’t like the last one, it was so much better.

Pretty sure I asked him once if I could have a real one. It was before my voice had changed, so the answer was obviously no.

I’m not sure why I was so interested in swords at a young age. I liked cowboys and cops and robbers and the guns they used too, but it didn’t pique my interest like a fight to the death with two expert swordmen.

The style of swordplay was irrelevant, it was the mastery over the instrument that I really watched. And I think I was moved by how the hero could perfect movements that others could practice just as them. Just as much, with the same instruments.

The thrill I felt may have been from that. From the thought that they mastered something that others could also master and then tested their strength of character against one another face to face, hand to hand. To find the greater master in the contest. Not one person was protected more than the other. They were within the same reach as the other and the swords became an extension of their bodies.

The hero became the hero when he came forward in his will and showed it to be stronger, more creative, and more imaginative to express his art in a way that his enemies never could.

And the instrument still says that to me. So I have a real one now. My voice changed.

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