Tracy knew that the first thing she had

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Tracy knew that the first thing she had

Post by heroisthai on Fri Aug 19, 2011 10:18 am

Tracy knew that the first thing she had to do was regain her physical strength. The cell was too cramped for extensive exercise, but it was large enough for t'ai chi ch'uan, the centuries-old martial art that was taught warriors to prepare them for combat. The exercises required little space, and they used every muscle in the body. Tracy stood up and went through the opening moves. Each movement had a name and a significance. She started with the militant Punching the Demons, then into the softer Gathering the Light. The movements were fluid and graceful and done very slowly. Every gesture came from tan tien, the psychic center, and all the movements were circular. Tracy could hear the voice of her teacher: Arouse your chi, your vital energy. It starts heavy as a mountain and becomes light as a bird's feather. Tracy could feel the chi flowing through her fingers, and she concentrated until her whole being was focused on her body moving through the timeless patterns.

Grasp the bird's tail, become the white stork, repulse the monkey, face the tiger, let your hands become clouds and circulate the water of life. Let the white snake creep down and ride the tiger. Shoot the tiger, gather your chi, and go back to tan tien, the center.

The complete cycle took an hour, and when it was finished Tracy was exhausted. She went through the ritual each morning and afternoon until her body began to respond and grow strong.

When she was not exercising her body, Tracy exercised her mind. She lay in the dark, doing complicated mathematical equations, mentally operating the computer at the bank, reciting poetry, recalling the lines of plays she had been in at college. She was a perfectionist, and when she had gotten a part in a school play where she had to use different accents, she had studied accents for weeks before the play went on. A talent scout had once approached her to offer her a screen test in Hollywood. "No, thank you. I don't want the limelight. That's not for me," Tracy had told him.

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