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8 months ago

Comfortable Madness First PDF 4-13-18

Work Out Each step was a

Work Out Each step was a marathon. Each breath a gasp. Even with the wind pounding me, I sweated. I walked and walked and Tayla walked with me, head down, red faced. She muttered nasty words under her breath. “We can go home,” I said. “No,” she said. “Keep going.” Tayla wasn’t into exercise. “Exercise,” she said, “is for fat people and athletes and I am neither.” To Tayla pain was pain. It had no meaning or redeeming qualities. The only time she worked up a sweat was at the piano or in bed. But now, I needed to walk to get my legs back and Tayla needed to walk with me to make sure I made it home. She worried that I might step in front of a car again. She worried that I would die in a gutter somewhere. I hauled my thick thighs down the road as fast as I could go. I would jog but jogging still hurt so I walked, and I walked until my legs quivered and my heart raced to the edge of my ribs. “How long’re we going to do this?” Tayla asked. “Every day.” “Jesus.” At the corner, Tayla sat on the curb and rested her head on her knees. “Are you okay?” I asked. “Half dead,” she said. “Welcome to my world.” She gave me the finger and lay back on the sidewalk. People were starting to stare. We looked like a couple of sweaty old bag ladies. Standing over her I realized how much stronger I was. Being strong was good. Strength was important. Being strong was the only good thing about being so big.

An old man stopped. He looked from me to Tayla and back again. His beard, white and wispy, hung in thin strings from a wasted face. Ragged teeth in a thin mouth showed yellow and crusty. “You okay?” he asked. I stepped back. Something scared me. His hands waved at his sides, like a fish treading water. The smell of piss and beer rolled from him. I clenched my fists. I waited for the fight. “I can call someone,” he said, looking down at Tayla. She opened her eyes and sat up. “You okay, sweetheart?” the old man asked. She looked from him to me and back again. “Out of shape,” she said, standing. “Let’s go.” She got up, wobbly and weak but on her feet. “Do you need a ride?” the old man said. “I have a car.” Tayla shook her head. “We live close.” He smiled and walked away, stopping once and lifting a friendly hand. “Home?” Tayla asked. I nodded and started off, fast, with a purpose. “Shit,” Tayla said, jogging to keep up. I tried to feel bad, but I couldn’t. She wanted this. She would have to keep up.