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all that you have

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You win.

You win until it's not something you do—it's something you are. You breathe victory and your smile gleams brighter than the medals you press to it.

You grow taller—much taller—and lose a body you understand, in trade for something bulkier, stronger, stranger. Then you land a jump the wrong way, and—snap!—just like that, your season is done.

Just like that, twinges of pain for the rest of your life—when it gets too cold, when the winds change, when the air grows heavy with the promise of rain.

You recover. You win, and win again, and become unstoppable.

There's nothing but aching and pushing yourself through it. There's nothing but feeling your smiles grow emptier and less convincing. Nothing but creating beautiful programs and knowing, deep down, that only you can skate them but even you can't do them justice.

There's something lacking in you, something you've lost along the way—smothered under the weight of gold.

It's not sadness, what you feel. You are...numb. You're frustrated and uninspired, dissatisfied, and still you take medal after medal, title after title. You don't just win; you stand head and shoulders above the competition, even the best of your challengers falling further and further behind.

You imagine losing and it leaves you unsettled. You're nothing without victory, not anymore.

Of course, you're nothing with it, either.