Thought Catalog
December 12, 2011

My Run On The Treadmill, As I Imagine The Girl Next to Me Imagines

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0:00. Look at him stretch. He stretches gracefully, as if he consumes every second with delight. But he stretches purposefully, as if he’s been here before. His running shorts says he enjoys freedom; their fade explains his passion. He must have run through rain and shine, through mountains and valleys. He must be a dominating force in bed. The sleeveless shirt. The biceps. He will be a caring father.

1:15. Look at him walk, warming up for the challenge ahead. He breathes in and out, and stares straight ahead, probably doing something responsible or outstanding with his mind. Like thinking about which state has the best public education system for young children, or what a sphere looks like inside out. Did he just look at me, and then pretend to be looking past me to the help desk? That is so subtle of him. Subtle, and yet calculating. He is a subtle, calculating man. Would I love to rip those headphones off of his head and scream as loudly as I can into his ear that I love how subtle and calculating he must be? Yes. The headphones. The headband. He will be a stern father.

7:19. Look at him run, bouncing up and down with fervor and complexity, with steam, like a cargo ship that sometimes enjoys reading Finnegan’s Wake on Sunday mornings. Is he mouthing the words of what he’s listening to? Is he absorbing the lyrics, absorbing the melody, letting it drive down through his ears to his heart to his fertile manbranch? He must be listening to the Arcade Fire album Funeral. Most people would have chosen Neon Bible or The Suburbs, but this Mr. Mysterious likes the epic dramatic sound of Funeral instead. Canadian indie rock. James Joyce. He will be a passionate father.

7:41. Look at him slowing down, taking a breather. Don’t want to wear out too soon. I like it. I love it. Is he nursing his right knee? Is this going to be a problem for this man who must rely on the physicality of existence to get by? Ha, ha. No, it will not. Look at that playful smirk stretching across his moist lips, teased by the salty droppings from his brow. He is sincerely letting his lips dance out of good humor for what is not an injury; for what is merely a minor setback in a breathtaking run inside of this very Gold’s Gymnasium. Salt. Smirk. $89 monthly membership fees. He will be a playful father.

9:14. Look at him speeding up. He is a gazelle. Of sex and kindness. He is a sex gazelle, grazing the pastures finding evil hyenas chewing carcasses of former friends. He is roaring at the hyenas, despite the fact gazelles hardly roar. In fact they never do. He’s taking said carcasses to the starving gazelle youth of his tribe. He is turning his head in shame for doing such a just act. He is ashamed of his greatness. If they see my face, he thinks, they will think they should repay me, which no one should ever do. The only person who should repay me, he thinks, is me. His grammatical logic is faulty, but he is a sex gazelle. Pastures. The Robin Hood of Gazelles. Grammar. He will be a giving father.

14:31. Look at him at max speed, head in the air. He’s thriving on the speed, he’s thriving on the… his iPod just fell on the treadmill and got launched behind him. He’s looking to see if anyone saw before he gets it. We make eye contact. Awkward. Super awkward. He tries to smile but it just sort of looks like he has a facial tick. He says something but I can’t hear him because my headphones are clearly on. I say “What?” generously and take off my headphones, but he speaks too quietly and I can’t hear him so I just nod and sort of try to laugh. He fumbles to pick up the iPod. His motor skills leave much to be desired. He is sheepish. He handles uninviting situations like a dog with his tail in tow. He will never be the alpha male. He is the omega male, if such a category exists. Eye contact. Facial Ticks. Categories. He will fail at being a father. (He has failed at being a runner).

He’s never even heard of Finnegan’s Wake.

He prefers The Suburbs to Funeral because it is more recent.

If he was a gazelle he would make unspectacular, common gazelle noises.

It’s time to go home before 2 Broke Girls begins. TC mark

image – Sasha W.