The Nice Thing About Strangers

Creative Non-Fiction Short Stories. :) Travel, Oldsters, Love, and Compassion.

The Life Cycle

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.Β  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.Β  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.

–Loveland, Colorado

Bozen-Bolzano, Italy, travel photos, skiing, sledding

Not Colorado! This is Bozen-Bolzano,Italy. Went sledding here. Felt and looked like home, though…

10 comments on “The Life Cycle

  1. greenlightlady
    October 27, 2012

    This is such a sweet post! It reminded me of when I worked at a fitness studio years ago… you capture people with your words very well.

    Blessings ~ Wendy

  2. coastalcrone
    August 15, 2014

    Now that young man was a gentleman with manners!

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      August 17, 2014

      Lol, sometimes people can’t help themselves. I like her reaction the best. πŸ™‚ I hope to be just like her one day.

      • Dave
        August 18, 2014

        From your keyboard to God’s monitor, Paige. I’m betting on you.

      • thenicethingaboutstrangers
        August 19, 2014

        Thank you, VP. I’m hoping for onwards and upwards (and cake for breakfast and cards in the afternoon). πŸ™‚

  3. drmaryharrell
    August 18, 2014

    A luscious piece. Crisp yet elegant.

  4. starknotes
    August 18, 2014

    Calm yet determined seems to describe this woman’s approach to exercise and to life. Good for her and her encouragement of others!

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      August 19, 2014

      Yes, I think we can learn a lot from those around us. πŸ™‚ Their approaches to life–or what we conclude from their actions–can be a good lead to follow.

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