Last set. Come on. Oh yes. Bicep curls. Done. Water fountain. Sweaty arms and the treadmills are occupied—guess I’m not running today. I think about trying to squeeze in one more set. Push ups? Pull ups? Jumping jacks? Then it hits me—like the first time you see a topless girl. I think of my whey. It fulfills me. It quenches me. It stuffs me with muscle-repairing amino acids. Anyways, it crosses my mind—and that’s enough to get me down in the locker room.
Down the stairs I walk. Past the vending machines, ignoring waving hands. Ignoring freshmen girls. They won’t get between you and I.
Bill Withers was right:
My friends feel it’s there appointed duty
They keep telling me all you want to do is use me…
But if it feels this good getting used
Just keep on using me.
“I need ice from the trainer,” I think. But something else is on my mind—no ice today.
A junior walks out of the locker room. He says hi. I reply—without really thinking about it. He could be Barack Obama. My mind is elsewhere.
I can hardly wait. I get to my locker. The combo. Shit. Nerves. 5-67-14 or 5-76-41? On the third try I get it. I get the combo—yes—but I’m not putting it on the internet.
Then I see it.
On the floor of my locker rests a carton. It’s ten inches high, erect. Flamboyant casing adorns its sides. It’s cylindrical. It stands tall. I find the bottle with the metal coil for premium mixture. The bottle is transparent next to the carton of whey. Fifty grams of protein per serving—you do so much for me, whey. You do too much for me.
I find the bottle and fill it with water. The water dances in—delicately but with assertion. I twist the cap. Turning hard enough that it will stay. But not too hard. I treat it well. We’re alone by the water fountain. I take a sip, letting my lips linger on the lid. Ooh… alliteration.
I walk back to my locker, and open up the carton. I dig the scoop deep, ever so deep, into the vast abyss of chalky, grey-brown powder. I bring the scoop up, and level it off with my finger. I lick the remaining powder from my pinkie. It gives me the tingles. Will they find out? Is this wrong? It seems so wrong… It seems so wrong… but so right… I could have just had the chocolate milk… or a protein bar.
I douse the water with the powder from the scoop. It balloons on the top and dives for the bottom. I watch it as I screw on the lid. I snap the lid shut, and give the bottle a few preliminary twirls.
I thrust the bottle with hands on either side down to my pelvis from my chest. This will be the most thoroughly mixed protein ever…
Thirty seconds later, I am hanging on. But I don’t know how much longer I can go. I feel the pressure on the top of the bottle. The liquid fizzes. I push harder, a bit more. The bottle can take it.
We’re almost there—it’s almost mixed completely.
It’s done. I sigh and sit down. “That was… well…”
That’s all I say—the bottle understands. I flip open the lid and pour the thick supplement down my throat.