Thursday, February 14, 2008

Love in a Time of Melancholy

The thing about a gym on the night of Valentine's Day is the not-so-conspicuous absence of wedding rings.

The young eyes looking askance across the room, stretching their bodies as though an offering to the gods.

The older ones hiding their left hands as though ashamed of their bare skin.

But, oh, what a vibe it is. Frustration mixed with longing, seeping from pores and permeating the room as a 20-something mans duels punching bags to the finish and a middle-aged woman does laps around him, her eyes focused on the green rubber track beneath her.

The buff men watch their muscles expand and contract in 360 degrees of mirrors, their eyes wavering only to watch the occasional female pass them by. The girls pretend not to notice but give themselves away by walking a little straighter and arching their backs to accentuate what God gave them.

I look around me — ashamed to be among them — and I wonder: how does one recover from... this.... and ever trust again?


I travel miles upon miles, never getting anywhere until I return to my car, an eastern European couple in their late-30s just a few steps ahead of me.

We're in the cold now; his hand keeping hers warm as he says something — maybe in Russian — and smiles at her, pulling her in to his chest, looking down, and kissing her wide-lipped, square on the nose.

They both laugh.

She says something to him; they release one another's hands and turn in opposite directions towards different cars on separate ends of the parking lot.

"You better hurry," I imagine she said to him. "Or your wife will get suspicious."

Special recognition goes out to M@, who has also made interesting observations about the embarassment one feels in acknowledging the bare skin on their left ring-finger.


Anonymous said...

There is no safety. All you can do is keep trying and keep hoping.

Woodrow said...

That was funny.

Does this mean we're no longer engaged?

M@ said...

The older ones hiding their left hands as though ashamed of their bare skin.

--Hey! You're stealing from me now, Third Base.

M@ said...

And those girls do love the attention.

Eli said...

What great imagery! I was seeing a movie in my head as I read this. A gym on Valentines, what a lonely thought...

Stacy said...

The gym is right up there on my list of most depressing places along with nursing homes, elementary school cafeterias and the Holocaust museum.

Winter said...

I agree with Stacy..

Supafly Turbo Cyborg said...

I'm wondering, how does one accentuate the ability to iron, wash dishes and vacuum by arching the back? I need to do some of this stuff soon, so if you could let me know the technique so I can get done faster...I would really appreciate it.