stories from the gym : love 

Maybe its that state of physical exhaustion or that moment of vulnerability that comes with half nakedness, scale weighing and cellulite inspection  — but I’ve noticed total stranger ladies sharing such oddly personal details in the locker room at the gym.   But me – I’m usually just quietly eavesdropping on their lives, learning about their trials and victories beyond the walls of the gym, including every diet they’ve ever been on — even though I don’t know much of anything else about them, including usually their names or their stations in life.   

In fact: While I was getting dressed at the gym, a woman I don’t know volunteered to me the number of days until Valentine’s Day – 4, not counting today. Personally, this is a made up day that for years has meant only things for my children – chalky heart candies and stuffed bears, red boxes of chocolates and homemade cardboard boxes filled with tiny note cards of Valentine wishes. 

But for this woman – and yes, she actually giggled – it was all about her husband’s gift to her: he was going to have her name engraved on her very old but much beloved standing mixer. They had been married for 19 years, she said and he was still romantic.  I tried not to let my inside armchair cynic stand up – because though it wasn’t going to be a surprise and it hardly seemed romantic, she was still gleeful – and who was I to judge 19 years of married life?  I smiled and told her that was really sweet and nice. Two words that rarely cross my lips, to be honest. 

In any case, in that half dressed moment, I was actually deeply glad to be reminded that there are indeed people who find love – a simple and delightful love – in others and can still celebrate it in the most ordinary of ways.  

They probably don’t even need a holiday – I guess I do, though. At a minimum, it’s a reason to keep going back to the gym. 

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One thought on “stories from the gym : love 

  1. Your insights are chuckle-y in this one… I think in poorer countries with zero disposable income, there could be no such holiday, you know? When my mother-in-law sent the kids cards and money one Valentine’s Day, I was shocked. I really thought it was only for dating couples or letting someone know of a til-now secret admirer. Paper valentines were nice to receive in school, because maybe not mostly everyone hated one after all –but there was torture enough in that, too. Strange holiday (to me).

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