We’re at the incline bench press and I just can’t lift it; he has too much weight on it. “Come on,” Daniel prods. “I can’t,” I say through gritted teeth pushing with all my might and feeling the double frustration one can only feel when the weight a) won’t budge and, b) it won’t budge in front of someone.
“You’re not focused today,” he reprimands taking off all the weight from the bar. I feel the need to defend against his accusation. “Well, everything’s off balance! My whole schedule has been messed up for two weeks! First Henri was in the hospital and then the kids got sick and then I got sick and I couldn’t get my workouts in and now I just feel weak and like I’ll never catch up.”
“That was last week. This is today.” I sit up on the bench to face him (glare at him) and he kneels down so he’s on my level.
He rubs his thumb across his bottom lip in thought. “Is Henri ok now?” he asks in a less brusque manner. “Yes.” “Is he back to work now?” “Today is his first day back.” “Your kids are healthy again?” “Yes; they’re in Kids Club right now.” “And you’re ok now?” I exhale slowly, “I guess so.”
“Then let it go.”
“I can’t. I can’t just turn things off like a switch in my brain.”
“That’s an excuse.”
“It’s not an excuse, it’s what happened.”
“Life happens. You’re going to get sick. You’re going to miss workouts. If you miss one, you miss one. You can’t make up for it, so you have to just move on.”
I pause a little to absorb his line of reasoning. I tend to hold on to things forever, it’s the historian in me. Daniel is all sports. Captain of the football team, college baseball scholarship, bodybuilder. I guess you have to let things go in sports or you would always be reliving last week’s game.
Slowly I lean back on the bench and struggle to lift the bar, struggle to clear my mind of last week’s setbacks. My grip on the cold metal is tight, its roughness pressed into the skin on my hands. Staring at the lights in the rooftop I finally manage to lift.
“One,” I say.
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