Last night at the gym a guy came in and started getting serious with the weight machines. Very serious. I was on the treadmill and he set himself up across from me. Each rep he did was punctuated with the sound you make when someone fires a cannon ball into your stomach. It wasn't really something you could get used to. I tried not to look at Dar who was on the stationary bike across the room, but every once in a while we'd catch each other's eye and I couldn't hold it in. Pretty soon I was laughing so hard, I had to hold onto the side rails while my legs continued moving like wet noodles in long slow strides. I'm pretty sure he didn't notice me.
In boxing class there’s a part where you partner up and hold the bag while the other guy hits it. One time the guy I partnered with was hitting it so hard I actually felt the wind from his right hook and I saw stars. From the wind!
I imagined that he swung just an inch to the right, and in slow motion connected with the left side of my face, causing my right eye, nose and side of my mouth to scrunch up, and the sweat on my forehead to spray. I imagined falling to the ground. I imagined everyone hushing and the guy standing over me and saying, I’m so sorry, like he was under water. All I can see is black and then out of nowhere a clown in full costume and rainbow afro wig comes out of nowhere and throws a bucket of water over me. There is more hush. I turn onto all fours and shake it off like a dog. I slowly get to my feet and try to focus on the guy. I take a wide swinging arc with my arm, and with the force of it, and the water on the floor, I knock my own legs out from under myself, landing on my back, my legs dramatically coming down together like 50 pound sacks of flour tossed from the back of a truck.
Then the bell rings and someone yells out 25 pushups people. Two five. And I say to the guy, What the hell, mister, you almost killed me.