I lay on my back listening to the crowd boo. They aren't booing me, they're booing my opponent. Everyone knew this was my last match coming in. They knew I was finished after this. My old body just can't take it anymore. The new guys are young, they do things I couldn't imagine when I first started. I'm proud to pass the torch.

This mask never meant much to me. It didn't change who I saw myself as. I didn't become some new person over night. But, it did make people look at me. They saw something in the mask. They saw more than the man beneath it. They saw courage, hope, fear, power or whatever else they may have seen. Representing something to these people is what made my career worth it.

"Take a bow Papi," the ref says to me, offering a helping hand.

Rising to my fee the crowd's boos turn to applause. My opponent raises my hand and bows to me exiting the ring. I think the cheers is what I'll miss the most about all of this. The referee leaves the ring and the crowd grows silent, knowing what comes next. I bend down and untie my boots. Plain black boots, I never had a need for anything more. No need for flashiness. I sit them in the corner, signifying an end to my time as a competitor.

I'm crying, I can't believe I'm crying. I untie the back of my mask and slowly peel it off, revealing my face. For 42 years, I've hidden my face from the people. Now, it is time to separate from the identity. They applaud my ugly mug and chant their thanks. This is the moment I've lived for.

You can purchase my novel Phantasmagorical on Gumroad for $2.99
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