The recreation center is busy, but like in a scene from a film, the crowd parts for a miniscule elderly lady sauntering slowly toward an exercise bike. She chooses one with moveable elliptical-style handles so she could also work those shoulders. She sits and gazes up at the set of televisions before her, sneering at the fashions being modeled on the morning talk show, sighing at the political advertisements. Riding at a glacial pace, she occasionally releases the handles to push up her glasses, which keep sliding down the bridge of her nose.
A man with salt-and-pepper hair and a vaguely greying mustache takes the bike on her left. She doesn’t even glance over until he begins to make some commotion. He sniffs, sets his feet, tugs his blue t-shirt down around his belly, and takes off. He races from the start. He pedals fast and huffs and puffs from the first minute with a determined look on his face.
As a pair, she barely completes one cycle of the pedals in the time he races through many. If it’s a competition, she wins for calm. She sits up with a vague smile as he mops his forehead with his sleeve. In about ten minutes, she is ready to join the exercise class, “Guts and Butts,” and he is dripping with effort. She painstakingly cleans off her bone dry bicycle as all gym members are requested to do. As she passes her neighbor, she offers him a thumbs-up and calls, “You go get ‘em!” She smiles at her encouraging deed and chuckles to herself as she shuffles away.