Creative Non-Fiction Short Stories. :) Travel, Oldsters, Love, and Compassion.
I enjoy the solitude of the vacant cycling room, until an elderly man peeks in sheepishly. I beam. (By now it should be clear that the elderly are my favorite humans and confidantes, most certainly my favorite in the gym.) He joins me, leaving a few bikes between us. There isn’t a class scheduled, so we’re both here for a self-guided roll through the invisible mountains.
A glass wall separates the cycling room from the second weight room. The second room is the heavier, more intense, warning-on-the-wall-about-steroids weight room, but we don’t gaze through the glass all that much. We glance at spots on the floor, at the mirror across from us, listening to our headphones and picking our pace. On occasion, a grunting weightlifter catches our attention. We trade a glance–impressed or embarrassed on his behalf. When I get lost in a set of gorgeous shoulders, my old man speeds up. I offer him with a guilty, smothered grin and he offers a blink of absolution.
A man with very short shorts begins practicing his weighted squats nearby and we hurriedly set our eyes away to points on the floor. We reach for our water bottles at the same time and raise them in a silent toast.
A clearly exhausted guy comes into the room, a sweaty bull into our tea party. He huffs and puffs, he makes a show of his exertion. The old man and I have been good enough to stick to small sighs and demure forehead-dabbing. As the Bull cycles, my old friend and I trade quick glances in the mirror, polite above all else. And when the Bull leaves after a gasping ten minute trip, my grey partner and I sit up in our saddles and ride off into the sunset.