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She’d throw small parcels of it into the boxing ring. She was a fan, had been following me all across the East Coast for my televised tour. Slivers of thin, savory prosciutto that I initially ignored. It wasn’t until my manager Lar began opening the packages, chewing off large hunks, moaning in ecstasy, that I took interest. The center of the ring was fetid and warm; sweat spun down my back, my chest. My knuckles were open cuts. I left smears of myself across the paper folds, blots of blood as I pulled apart the string to reveal what laid inside: salami. She had thick hair, a large unruly mop of it that she left a tangled mess. She wore an apron, too. Would wear the same gut-soaked canvas until I began buying her nice things, until we fell in love. Hers was an ugly name—Ginevra. I wouldn’t, in the end, mind this at all. The fight was over; Bobby the Beast had lost, but not by much. I was a boxer, had been since forever. I turned the salami over with my fingers. My thumbs now slick with oil. Something spicy rose into the air, which was a welcome change from the hard smell of bodies pushed into their extremes. That rank scent of adrenaline and whatnot. I pressed the token into my mouth that flooded with saliva and gratitude. A burst of flavors, one I’d never forget. Ginevra lingered, watching me finally indulge in her treats. I had Lar call her over. The rest was history. She was a butcher, of course. Returned to me with prosciutto, more salami, something called soppressata. She no longer tossed these into the ring, but had them waiting for me on her lap in the front row. For you, she’d say each time, a twinkle in her eye, that broad and airy smile always across her face. We were an easy pair. Running across the streets of Manhattan, always retreating to our favorite corners in Little Italy. When the tour was over, she took me to her hometown of Perugia. She fed me porchetta and salsiccia secca. Vines of grapes that we’d pluck between our meals of meat. We lost ourselves in red wines that we guzzled as if parched. I loved her; I loved her meats more. When we returned stateside, and to my surprise, I had moved up several weight classes. Thickly handles that now hung off my sides. Ginevra clutched these with a grin. My little salami, she crooned. I laughed something loud and soulful. I did not mind the new changes to my body, even met them head on. Lar told me to watch out—what if she’d butcher me next? I was, for the first time in my life, happy. So what if she did?