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Gym Girlfriend - a poem

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Gym Girlfriend

I am wondering what happened to you because I have not seen you in about a week or two and I thought I could always count on you to be here for me. When I need you the most.

The last time I saw you was on the treadmill, smiling brightly under the televisions that were playing the evening news, a music video with a group of dancing boys, some sitcom from the 1990s and a light fixture that seemed to strobe with your every step. I would like to guess you were practicing for a marathon that was to take place in some major city on the East coast, even though it is summer and we're indoors in California.

Once while I was on the leg press, you took the machine in front of me and I saw that tattoo on the back of your neck that looked like a zodiac dial without the animals. Perhaps it was ancient, Egyptian, some talisman or a mandala of sorts that is used to inspire reverence. Your dirty blonde hair, in a pony tail, bounced slightly and I strained to read the message written in the circle in brown ink, but was immediately distracted by the lunk alarm and purple lights.

Gym girlfriend I would say I almost miss you because once while I was on the ski machine I saw you come in and smile and sit down at the curlers. You had more tattoos on your arms and I knew I had seen some of them before on someone, somewhere else. Where? The librarian at that branch downtown they are planning to close down? The clerk at the convenience store who passed out cigars to the obvious underage youth who approached the counter with their Monster drinks?

I still am not certain, but I know it wasn't in a dream because I rarely have dreams and when I do I cannot remember them. I think I would have remembered you though. The way you plod along on the ski machine like some snow bunny without the white hoodie, ear muffs and snow. I certainly would have recalled the bright pink shorts and neon green attire you like to wear.

And the glasses, of course the specs. I don't know many people who wear glasses when they go to the gym, because even though your driver's license may read "corrective lenses required" there are no such stipulations for using the nautilus machines and you don't need to have perfect vision while you are trying to maintain your cardiovascular health.

What is it with those glasses of yours. Dorthy Parker once wrote: "Girls in glasses, never get passes" and it seems to me you took a pass to another gym perhaps"? A bus ticket to a permanent family reunion? A train ride to the Great White North where you have your second home?

Gym girlfriend, sometimes I think you are someone I have seen at work, someone I only see on the other side of the office building, walking alone. I don't know if that is you or not because I have facial amnesia and really don't pay that too much attention to other people anyway because I have my own things to worry about but I did suddenly notice when you failed to appear on the stationary bicycle as you usually do at 5:45 PM (Pacific Standard Time).

The way you manage the running machines for more than half an hour inspires me and I see that sometimes you go through the gym leaving no device untouched. I don't know how you do it, I cannot manage half of what you do and sometimes just knowing you are there makes me tired.

Where have you gone then Gym Girlfriend? The stair climber is only eight feet tall and you could not have climbed up on the roof. There is no swimming pool here, no sauna, everything is in plain view. Your stamina inspired me and I knew I could count on you to be there to keep me on top of my game.

Maybe I should consider a marathon and head off to every city on the planet where there are races. Steeplechase, bicycles, the midway arcade have nothing on you. I close my eyes and see you in the sun sometimes, that tattoo on your neck a dial that provides the accurate time from every zone on the planet. I would say there are stars in your eyes, but that is too ridiculously cliche and you might get the wrong idea because I have no romantic intentions with you. You were just one of the regular, rather pleasant, interruptions, in my daily routine I thought I could count on.

And now you are gone.

Did you take up a marathon? Are you in the races, like the horses or greyhounds running towards that finish line, are you destined for greatness and finally found it somewhere outside of here?

The marathon got its name from he soldier Pheidippides who ran from a town with the namesake (marathon) and headed to Athens. It's more than 25 miles and he did it nonstop.

When he arrived, exhausted, he collapsed...

and never ran again.

© 2018 Fin

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