“That sounded pretty red-neck.”
“Can’t get much more redneck than that,’ Denny assures me. Not that I wanted or needed assurance.
I’m taking off my make-up in front of the bathroom mirror and Denny is standing off to the side, behind me. My mind is going back to my youth and contrasting it with life as I know it now. A younger guy at work asked me if Denny and I would like to join him and some friends who are going skating on the weekend. I told him I had never mastered the sport. I tried to learn but I didn’t like falling. And I hadn’t had much chance to practice when I was young. The option of skating kind of depended on how well the gravel pit iced over for the winter, I just told Denny.
“That sounded pretty red-neck.”
Denny doesn’t skate because he doesn’t have strong ankles. He never used to know why his feet spread out sideways when he skated, but that is the reason. It has something to do with having flat feet.
We may differ on a few things but on the subject of skating Denny and I are agreed.
“Thank you for getting me my gym membership,” there is gratitude in Denny’s voice. “I can’t believe how much I’m enjoying it. I enjoy it more than staying at home and watching a movie. And it’s amazing that my body is still pretty strong after all those years since I worked out.”
“Our bodies remember,” it must be at least twelve years. Denny dropped a lot of weight back then. He looked slender.
“Yes, I’m working out and it’s not like I have to start from the beginning. I skipped that. At first I was pretty sore, but then I got right back into it like before.”
Denny pauses, “I see some of those guys at the gym. They must have been there for years.”
“You don’t want to compare yourself to them.”
“Working out doesn’t do the same thing for older people. I read about that. Our bodies change.”
“But it can make a huge difference. I saw a picture of a ninety year old man once who looked like forty.”
Denny changes the subject, “You should just start walking.” He doesn’t say it as in that I should do it, but more as a suggestion that it would be enough if I just walked. “You don’t have to change your diet. Just walk.” He must be thinking about my doctor getting on my case to lose weight.
“I want to get my job under control first.”
“If you would start walking you would find that your job would begin to solve itself. It would just happen.”
“It might make a difference,” I say, not totally convinced. “There is a walking path close to work. I might be able to do that. There are no houses there, just trees.” I don’t enjoy walking in high traffic areas.
“You could walk during your lunch break.”
“Or after work.”
“If you walked four days a week I’m sure you’d find it would make a huge difference.”
“Yes, I’m sure it would,” I’m not exactly agreeing to do it. I know it would make me feel better, although it might not resolve anything at my job. I don’t know quite why I am putting this off. But I am thinking of doing it. That’s a step in the right direction.
Back in the living room, Denny grabs his gym bag, gives me a kiss and heads for the door, “See you later.”
I finish watching a movie I started yesterday, about a guy whose wife died and he isn’t ready to date again. I’m sure I’ve seen this story before, with different actors. But it’s not bad. Denny walks in as it ends.
“Is that the same movie you were watching yesterday.”
“Yes it is. It’s a good movie. They’re not even in bed as soon as they start dating.” I like that. Most movies are so unrealistic.
Denny comes over to me, “Feel this.” He leans towards me and flexes his biceps. I touch his arm.
“Wow. I better look out for you.”
Denny laughs. “I’m lifting my twenty-five pounds and the guy beside me is lifting ninety-five,” he illustrates for my benefit how he lifts weights above his head.
“I’m proud of you.”
“And tomorrow, before you come home, you go for a walk,” he tells me.
Maybe. Walking is definitely safer than skating. My girlfriend broke her arm trying to skate. I should walk.