We play a game. What tree is that? What tree? I’m always losing. Oak. Elm. Chestnut. No. Always mulberry, linden. There are over 1,000 species of tree in North America. How do you know them all because that’s what it feels like. We play a game. I’m always losing.
There are 7 days in a week and 7 times I’m here. There are 15 treadmills. There are 2 Stair Machines. 20 ellipticals. This is never enough. There is 1 track, 10 times around is 1 mile. 30 warm-up tilts holding 5 lb weights, 15 knee-ups each side, 30 sit-ups, 1 minute boat hold, 30 bicycle crunches, 20 twist planks, 15 cat crunches each side, 30 weighted Russian twists, 1 minute elbow plank hold. Repeat x1. Torso rotation 10 x 3 @ 85, 95, 105 each side. Abdominal 10 x 3 @ 65, 75, 80. There’s 1 guy that follows me around. Back and forth. Back and forth. I’ve been watching you, he says. You’ve made a lot of progress. Thank you, yes, I feel good these days. Dart for 1 of 2 unisex bathrooms. There are hundreds of ways to feel these days.
I get up earlier. 7am, 6am, 5am. I go to bed earlier. 10pm, 9pm, 8pm. I go to bed fully clothed. I wake up and warm the car. I go for a run. You leave later. 10am, 11am, 12pm. You get home later. 7pm, 8pm, 9pm. We go a week without seeing each other. The dog misses you, I say. I miss the dog, you say.
There are 60 minutes in 1 hr. 10 minutes on treadmill at speed 7. 15 minutes on elliptical at 8/8. 15 minutes on StairMaster at 9. 10 minutes on elliptical at 12/12. 5 minutes on treadmill at speed 8. 5 minutes on treadmill at speed 4.5. Trim my ear wax from my headphones. Pace with “Age of Consent.” My side aches, my side aches, my side aches. And, I’m not the kind…
I apply to grad schools and then I pretend I am certain you will come with me. Yes, even to Florida. You keep smoking and you kiss me. Ew you smell like smoke. Oh. Goodnight, quit smoking. Okay. But you haven’t yet.
There are 1,432 calories I can eat a day. 26 WW pp. Religion: Health Conscious. Religion: 5k, 10k, Half Marathon. Religion: Weight Loss. All hail my 1L purple water bottle. All hail my pale yellow pee. All hail the numbers 32 27 36, 130, and 22.1. Chisel, chisel. Merry part my gallbladder, merry meet my new asics. Saint Nike. Saint Lululemon. Saint Under Armour. Saint Champion. All hail this banana. In the name of these size 6 jeans, I pray.
We play a game. Hide and seek with our hobbies. Wax and wane my writing, wax and wane your guitar playing. I am most happy. No, you are most happy. No, I am most happy. No—the dog is most happy. Yes, we both agree.
Emily Lundgren is a current NEOMFA fiction candidate with a MA from the University of South Dakota. She is currently capturing the soul of a dragon priest in Skyrim, which she plans to use in construction of an arcane enchanter for Windstad Manor. For more information, you can find her on twitter @emslun