Do you remember the first time you got into a fight? A real, out for blood fistfight, and you'd come home with a black eye and bloody knuckles for your mom to fuss over, for those boys whose mother still lived at home, and you'd be the center of the school rumor mill for the next few days and you'd be sore for about as long. That fight. Somewhere in the middle of that fight, you got knocked down. Some people just stayed down that first time, which is the only way to really lose one of those fights, no matter what happens later. For the ones who got back up, though, that's when you first realized that you aren't made of glass. It hurts, sure. Not just the getting hit, but the hitting, too; they don't tell you that in the cartoons. But you can get hurt and still kick the shit out of the other guy. Or maybe he kicks the shit out of you after all. Doesn't really matter which way it goes. You go home grinning, even with the black eye.
The other fight that matters is your first fight with guns, or knives, or maybe it's still just your fists, but it's the one where someone goes down and doesn't get up again, ever. That's the one where you realize people are made of glass after all. Maybe it's not even a fight. Maybe it's just a person in the wrong place at the wrong time. Maybe it's a hospital bed. Whatever it is, you don't go home grinning this time.
People are full of contradictions like that. We're fragile, and then again, we're not. Or maybe we're just real good at breaking and carrying on anyway.