The treadmill visitor
Am confined to hotel room. Prepping for trial tomorrow. Sniffling. At about 10:30 pm decide to go clear away the fog. The gym is open 24/7. Change into gear. Give one good last blow and head downstairs. Turn on the lights. Utter peace.
This is my time to let my mind roam wherever it wants. Michael Jackson on the ipod. The Olympics on TV. Am watching the high jumpers. About a mile into the run, the door opens. A minx with shaggy (wet) blonde hair tosses her room key onto the treadmill next to me. I sigh at the noise she makes and try to ignore her.
Peg her at ten. In an orange romper. Bare feet. She turns the machine on and begins to jog. Slap slap slap go her feet. I estimate she’ll get bored after three minutes. She makes it to a little over one. Then she goes off to the cycle. And I turn back to the business of breathing in the case.
Thump. She bounces back on the treadmill. Begins pushing buttons. Where the heck are her parents.
It works better if you wear sneakers, I say.
How long have you been here.
How fast are you going.
What are you listening to.
What channel is that.
Michael Jackson is trying to drown her out but fails. It’s my fault for paying attention to her. I answer the questions.
If I go get my shoes will you work out with me, she says.
Hmm, I think. She’ll go back up to her room and her parents will tell her it’s time to get ready for bed.
Sure, I say. I’ll work out with you but first you need to get your shoes.
She’s back in five.
For the next twenty minutes she walks, runs for portions of a minute, steps off, gets back on, and pushes buttons up and down. Gets water, grabs a towel. Watches the Olympics. Asks about the Olympics. Wants to know where the headphones are. Tries to read her heart rate. At one point, she gets off her machine, comes to my right side and is actually standing on the stationary edge of my treadmill. As I’m running. She lifts my ipad up off the console so that she can read my statistics.
The women’s uneven bars are now being featured on t.v. How do they do That. I remember being forced to get on those bars in junior high P.E. Basically could do a circle with my tummy touching the low bar. Hands grasping the bar so tightly that blisters form. Realize the room is silent. The little golden sprite is gone.
The run winds down. Walk up the stairs.
Even though the nose has started dribbling again. Despite more work to be done. The little girl has covered me in fairy dust. And I am smiling.