I did not sleep well last night. I tossed and turned and according to my Fitbit I slept under 5 hours in total. My mind racing with FASFA Forms, crew fund raising events, Chip’s painful elbow, Izzy’s illnesses and the challenges of my job. I am up, so I began moving around 4am and signed in to secure a spot in the 5:30am spin class. I set out earlier than usual and got to the parking lot at 4:45 and I waited.
I sat there and watched the dashboard display show me the drop in temperature. I waited as the cars pulled in bringing the usual suspects to Meghan’s class. The jocks, the weightlifters, the casual gym visitors and the spinners. The headlights are mostly off and the ‘smoke’ from the running engines fills the parking lot sky. It is cold. We all sit, wait and watch for the door to be unlocked so we can bolt to get in quickly. (Thanks Deb.)
Inside we casually chat as we set up our bikes and prepare for class. We eat our yogurt and catch up on the events of the previous day/night. The smell of my freshly peeled clementine fills the room. Some bring coffee, some check email and some just zone out…it is, after all slightly after 5am.
In 55 short minutes I am soaking wet and with the burn of 545 calories I am psyched to begin my day.
It is now 12 hours later and a mere 10 degrees warmer and I am off to Zumba with Laurie. I love Wednesday night class. It is at the Sons of Italy and the little old men in the bar make me smile. They play cards, smoke and drink and lament about life, in Italian. (I understand enough of what they say to be dangerous.) Tonight, Salvatore asked me if the room was cold, “è la camera fredda ?”. “Yes“, I tell him, and so the conversation began.
We spoke about Sicily and being Sicilian, not Italian and Italian life in general. We shared our stories of trips to Italy and Sicily and the food, the wine, the scenic views. Somehow he mentioned that his grandson was getting married on April 25th this year. April 25th is the anniversary of the day his wife died. He began to tear up. I began to tear up and there in the middle of the Sons of Italy, this stranger and I spoke about life, and love. He misses his wife terribly and he told me he visits her grave every month and brings her flowers. He has done this for nine years. Nine Years! Now I am in an all out sob, and so is he. We regroup and he goes to the bar to the ‘men’ and I take my class for the next 60 minutes. Now 594 calories later, I am done. I go into the bar to say good night to Salvatore. The men’s chatter instantly ceases; cards in hand, drinks in mid motion to the mouth.
In Italian, his friend asks him if I am his girlfriend, his love. They laugh, I smile and he realizes I understand. I actually touched his cheek and said goodnight. He smiled so deeply that I melted. I think he did too.
It is now 14 degrees and I am ready for a shower, a glass of wine and To Kill A Mockingbird with Jack. I read this book in 1978 in high school and I am enjoying it the second time around.
What a day. I am glad I ventured out today, in the cold, twice, to what I thought were exercise classes. They really ended up life lessons, once again. It is there if you look. You can reap a lot of life in places where you may not think to look. I love my gym ‘family’ and the new friends I make each day. Open your eyes, your mind and your heart and you may be surprised what you find.