My Gym Family

They don’t know they are in my family, but I have spent every morning at the gym with them at 5 AM on the weekdays for the past ten years and noticed them. 

The red-shirted greeters at the front desk smile and say good morning. There have been many over the years, but they always know the first arrivals best.

The blond woman with the curly ponytail and glasses walks around with her coffee mug and often places it on the bench I want to use. I have never asked her to move it, I just move to another bench. 

The short-statured, dark-haired man wears his headphones and plays the air guitar or drums in between his sets. I often imagine what song he is listening to. 

The two older men pedal and catch up on their grandkids on the last two bikes in the cardio area. I like that last bike the best too, but I save it for them. 

The red-haired woman with the long braid stretches on the yoga mat to start her workout. I also saw her at church once.

The woman and man duo travel together. I can overhear their small talk. I’m not sure if they met at the gym or were friends prior, but they always have a lot to talk about.

The muscular man makes me uncomfortable as he grunts when lifting weights. I try not to lift too near him, but I wonder if making noise helps his muscles grow. 

The tall, skinny man always takes the high incline treadmill. He should really use a regular one if he wants to run a flat course. It’s frustrating when I want to do hills and this machine is taken.

The younger, strong, very toned woman (I think) spends hours at the gym and covers just about everything you could possibly do there. I don’t think she takes any days off.

David- I know his name because he always stops by my treadmill to talk to me- always, always calling me by name and asking how my kids are, how my work is- except the last time. He looked puzzled and said “I can’t believe I forgot your name, I’m having trouble with my memory lately.” This made me sad. I pray he is okay.

I miss my family at the gym and hope to see them again soon.

7 thoughts on “My Gym Family

  1. This piece reminded me of Goethe’s wisdom: “There is no meaning without context.” And this piece, written the way you have carefully described each person gently allowing the reader to see them and feel them, moves to the emotional punch in the gut. I had to hold back tears. We are all hoping to return to our extended families. Thank you for a powerful slice.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The way you described each person in your gym family really shows how you pay attention to the world around you. I love all the little details – the coffee cup on the bench, for example, and then the way you layer in your thoughts about each person. I imagine these people would be impressed, and a bit surprised, that you know them so well. I hope we can return to all of our families soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s amazing how close we can truly come to those we don’t even know. I used to think about this when I was a commuter and would see the same people everyday. We are connected by habits and interests. Great slice.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is exactly how I feel about my Garelick and Herb family. I miss them so much too. I feel so bad about David. The memory loss road is not an easy one.
    Great post….really makes me think about community and how we have ‘different’ families.
    That’s the stuff I miss the most, sitting here day after day.


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