Conversation at the Gym
"This mirror is dirty. There's a smudge. Is that sweat? Maybe it's dust."
"I don't think it's dust. Dust doesn't stick like that on a mirror. I think it's probably someone's sweaty hand."
"Yeah, that would make sense."
He walks over to the other side of the empty gym. It's 6:45am in the morning, and he's gotten just shy of 5 and a half hours of sleep.
"Ugh, today is going to suck. A lot."
"Why didn't you go back to sleep?"
"I tried. I really did. But the morning sun blasts me like I'm a protestor at a riot."
Life is both predictable and unpredictable at the same time. He feels a steady, calm stability settling into the city. Everything seems to be fine. But just that, fine. And yet, something feels off. He can't put a finger on it. Every now and then life jerks him off-path, mentally and emotionally, and he starts to wonder what could possibly go wrong.
"I need to figure out my own happiness. I'm getting overly reliant on this. This is neither healthy nor sustainable."
"You always do this. You always second guess yourself and the people you get close to. It's not that complicated man."
"You don't understand. Nothing is as it seems. When was the last time anything lasted? Good or bad. It's a double-edged sword. I am well aware that these thoughts are ephemeral, but then by definition, aren't the good vibes also?"
"So then why rotate on it? Why spiral? You've seen this movie not once, not twice, but a million times. And the only possibly ending if you try to control it is misery, for all."
He picks up the EZ-curl bar, 25 lbs loaded on each side, thrusts it overhead, and steadily lowers it behind his head. One. Two. Three. Four. Deep breath. Five. Six. This is getting hard. Seven. This was nothing in 2014. But then again, he too was nothing. There's nothing quite like the serenity of an empty, spacious gym at the break of dawn. You could hear a bird's wing flutter.
"I feel tired. Exhausted. Over-invested. I want to strive to be selfless, but I'm not, I'm only human. I want to believe that everything will work out, but at the same time, I want to manage my expectations so as to not get disappointed. I love rollercoasters. The thrill of it. But each time I get back onto the ground, I realize that was temporary and that could never last. You couldn't stay on a rollercoaster your whole life, you know? Even if you could and did, it would lose its novelty. You would eventually ask the operator to let you off. 'I'm good, Joey. I think I need to go for a walk now.' But I want this to work. Oh man, I want this to work so, so badly. Like, this may be the first good thing that's happened to me in a long time. And yet, what we love most, we also fear losing most. Is it better to have everything to lose, or to have nothing at all? What do you think?"
He looks to his right. There's nobody there.
He looks at the mirror. The smudge is still there. He closes his eyes for a second, takes a deep breath, and grabs the EZ-curl bar.