The Home Stretch

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

After the divorce, my dad took Stacey and me on the weekends. For awhile, he tried to make each weekend something fun and interesting to do. One time, he took the two of us to a place to ride horses. Stacey, Dad and I each got our own horse to ride and we took them up the trail. It’s the only time I’ve ever ridden a horse, except for that one time that I tried to get on Sceverenia’s horse in Fairview and it bucked me off. I don’t really count that time because I was only on the horse for about three seconds.

While we were going up the trail, I had a hard time. The horse that I was on did not want to go. He would not walk and I fell behind Stacey and Dad. The two of them were far ahead of me, heading into the trees while I nudged and bounced on my horse to get it to catch up. The thing would not move or would only move slowly toward Stacey and Dad. We only had the horses for an hour. By the time that I reached the tree line, thirty minutes were already gone. If we didn’t turn around right now, we would be late getting back to the ranch. My dad had us turn around and head back, hoping that my horse would be able to keep up.

At that point, I was surprised. The second we turned around, my horse picked up speed. By the time the ranch came into view, my horse was at a dead run. I enjoyed the second stretch of the trek much better than the first. We got back to the ranch in fifteen minutes flat, half the time it took to go out. When we got back, I realized that my horse didn’t want to take me for a ride. It wanted to rest. It was tired and every step away from the ranch meant that it would have to take me back that far. Going away, it fought me, but returning home, it gladly pranced and ran.

I caught myself doing the same thing Monday. I was running outside in my neighborhood. I ran out to the doggie park and back. When I headed back, I noticed that I was running faster than when I ran out. I felt the happiness in my run because I was going home. The faster I ran, the sooner I would get home. It’s something that never ever happens when I run on the treadmill. The treadmill is one never ending run in place. I never am able to run fast enough to get into the TV screen in front of me and I never run home.

As you can tell, I still haven’t been back to the gym. I could say that the sun and the beautiful weather are enticing me to spend my exercise time outside, but that’s not the whole story. I could say that getting ready for work at the gym is inconvenient and less efficient than just getting ready at home after a workout, but that isn’t the whole story either. The whole story is that the gym isn’t my fun playground anymore. That Bosu incident just sucked the life out of my safe and enjoyable spa. It doesn’t feel like a luxury spa in Vegas anymore. It feels like a junior high locker room.

I don’t know how to fix this. I remember feeling like this before, but this gym was different, I told myself. This gym wasn’t a gym; it was a luxury spa where everyone there was solely interested in becoming better people. I had told myself that the harpies that had vexed me in the past didn’t exist in the adult world. I had convinced myself that I was safe as long as I went to this special and magical place.

In the eight seconds that the teacher made us hold that squat on the Bosu Ball, that brown-haired girl stole all of that from me. I want it back. I realize that it was only an illusion. I realize that the friendly people outnumber the mega-bitches. I realize that all of this is solely a problem in my mind, not the gym. None of that brings it back to me. I feel like I need to bring a body guard to the gym with me. I wish Andre the Giant was still alive. He could follow me around at the gym and thump bitchy brown-haired girls on the head when they mocked me.

When I first went to this gym, I used to go with a friend from work. Ming and I would leave at lunchtime every day and meet by the treadmills. After a month of going to the gym and not encountering any evil women, I felt like it was safe enough for me to go alone. When I had to take the second lunch and go without Ming, I felt safe there. If I went during the evenings, I was still scared, but I knew that the lunch crowd wouldn’t hurt me. This class was a morning class, but the entire gym feels unsafe again.

Mike volunteered to go to the gym with me after work. He said he would protect me from evil women. He’s up for protecting me from women. He knows full well that I can protect myself from men just fine. Men are easy. All you have to do is kick their ass and they leave you alone. Women are hard. I’ve yet to find the perfect response to a catty girl who makes fun of me when I’m trying to do my best at a new activity. Punching them in the face doesn’t work. Being bitchy back at them doesn’t work. Nothing I’ve ever tried has worked.

In the meantime, I’ve mapped several runs that I can do from my house: two mile runs, three mile runs, four mile runs. There are lots of routes that I can take and I’m always surprised at the distance I can go. When I drive them out in the car after running them to find out the mileage, I’m always amazed at how far away I went and came back. Of course, the home stretch is much easier to run and faster because I’m running home.


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