I go to the gym with my mask, late afternoon, Saturday. If I see many cars in the parking lot, I am ready to come back home, but there are three. I’m telling you this so you will consider me, because I don’t know what to do here now; my body is a stranger. I’m here to try and feel whole.
I row on a machine. The nearest person is walking on a treadmill twenty feet away. Two other people are using weight machines deep into the room. It is pathetic that I find comradery in knowing they are there.
From my machine, I have clear sight of the bank of televisions hanging from the ceiling. This is where the gods speak. CNN is on the first TV. There is news of Russian atrocities including rape. The second TV over shows The Master’s Golf Tournament – I feel like I might come apart. I row hard, and then I stop, then I look away and row more. Rape. I want to row for an hour, but I keep stopping, not because I am tired, but because the CNN coverage is breaking my supposed elite athlete heart. I don’t think I can do this. For more absurdity, CNN shifts to comments on the Will Smith Academy Awards slap, and I want to throw up.
I sit quietly for a minute on my rowing machine. If I step off, this effort is over, and I am back in the world. At home there is my elderly mother. If you must know, I have signed up for a course on Narcissism, so I can understand people like her.
There is no water under this laughable rowboat, no sea for me to tip into here. I can’t lie back and ride the waves, watch the sun arc its arc and wonder so many why’s.
Last night, I read Mary Oliver poetry from her compilation, "Evidence.” I read the poem of that name, and was struck by her line, “Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable.” This morning, there was a Mary Oliver Instagram post: “Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable,” and that was all. I looked and found the book of poetry still open to that page on my coffee table. I’ll take any sign from the universe.
I don’t know why I feel compelled to tell you this. Often, I learn in the telling.
Why is the sea so far away?