Picking Up the Pieces

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“Half mile…three quarters of a mile…one mile.”

I intently watched the tread mill odometer and the ever so important calorie indicator as I attempted to realize my goal of five miles. Suddenly from behind me a feminine voice said,

“You’re doing great Angela for a newbie. You came a long way since you joined the club today.” I grunted out,

“Thank you. I do feel better, but yikes, this is killing me.”

Heather, one of the fitness club’s six staff exercise instructors, but was also the women’s aerobics instructor. I really wanted to start doing aerobics, but since I’m carrying a few extra pounds…I thought it would be wiser to shed those extra pounds first. Heather flashed me a big smile and said with an infectious upbeat tone to her usual sultry voice,

“Well…after all this is only your first day, but you’re doing very well. You’ll get used to the temporary discomfort and I guarantee…you’ll be running like a pro in no time and then I’ll move you to my aerobics class when I think you’re ready. I was looking at your membership card earlier…I noticed that you signed up for aerobics, but for now we’ll keep you on the machines to trim your weight down…okay? Like they say…no pain…no gain. Right?”

“Right…I guess.” Heather gave me a perky smile and said,

“Soooo, keep up the good work Angela and remember, everyday you accomplish your exercise goals adds to your self confidence while toning up your body. Well…I have to check on the others and I’ll be back to check on your progress…Okay?” I nodded and said,

“Okay…I’ll try.” Heather shook her head and say,

“No…you’re going to do it. Try is not in our vocabulary at this club.”

I bit my lower lip and nodded and Heather smiled again…then walked over to a sweaty, but nice looking gentleman on an arm curl machine nearby and left me to my agony. I hated her, but at the same time envied women like Heather. Heather was a tall, gorgeous, fit and trim twenty-seven year old with honest to god movie star looks…and not in the girl next door sort of way. She wreaked sexuality…the kind of woman every man drools over in their wet daydreams and women hate.

I knew when I joined Body Sculptors fitness club and this was my first day that I was grossly out of shape and desperately needed to better myself, but what really gave me the needed push was that I was beginning to look like my sixty-two year old mother and I’m only thirty-seven. I was recently divorced two years ago after a ten year marriage with three small children at home while holding down a full time job as a licensed real estate agent at a local realtor office. Someday I hope to have my own office…once I get some breathing room because the divorce left me financially out on a limb.

Turns out, my ex husband left me with a mountain of debt and back taxes…he sort of just forgot to pay them when he left me for another woman. How can you just forget a 5K gambling debt or a 16K debt to the IRS? Since I now own the home we lived in for ten years…I’m totally responsible and have to pay. I make a very good salary, but some of that goes towards paying off his debts and back taxes then there’s the monthly mortgage, bills and other expenses…so there’s very little left over to live on. Don’t get the idea that I’m destitute…I’m not, but it would be nice to not have to worry about money. My ex does pay child support, but it could be more…a lot more. To be honest…I shouldn’t have to be the one struggling like this for something I didn’t cause and I wish my divorce lawyer was more aggressive in dealing with my ex, but he wasn’t. Sorry to rant and rave about this…but it really ticks me off. .

After having three kids and my love for food, I have a belly to go along with my thick thighs and hips and to make things worse…I have no upper physical strength what so ever. I even have trouble lifting my five year old son for a motherly hug with out grunting and taking two Tylenols afterwards. I have all the bad habits a couch potato like me was blessed with…my love for good food, munchies, smoking and an occasional glass of wine being the four habits I needed to purge, but at the same time…enjoyed. In my profession as a Real Estate agent, physical strength wasn’t necessary because we only have to show houses and do paper work…not lift a Volkswagen and carry it a mile. How much strength do you need to hold a pen or unlock the front door to a house you’re showing to perspective buyers…how about none?

The real truth as to why I’m enduring this agony is…while I wanted to shed a few extra pounds, I really wanted to get into a fit and trim shape for the guys. After my short ten year marriage came suddenly to an abrupt end…I found myself out in the dating world and not having much luck. I mean, what normal man wants an out of shape, somewhat plump, putze like me…none, that’s who? My ex, an undeniably handsome man had enough of me and when he met Ms. Rich bitch…well, escort eryaman he didn’t have to think twice about handing me my walking papers. Out with old…in with the new I guess.

However, I’m not that old nor am I ugly…I just think he didn’t want to be married with children anymore. To be honest…I’m very attractive, just as attractive as the woman he left me for and she wasn’t much younger than me…mid thirties, but she had no children, she was rather wealthy and ran her own public relations company. Not only that…she lives an exciting and full life…traveled Europe when she was in college…goes skydiving…scuba diving…attend the opera and goes to jazz festivals. Just about everything I don’t or can’t afford to do…she does. God…I have to wonder what she sees in my ex because he’s a regular SOB. Um…I’m kind of short…a petite 5’2″ tall…around 125lbs and I have saggy 34D boobs. Um, my right breast is slightly bigger than my left…I’m lopsided and very self conscious about it. I have shoulder length blonde hair and big blue gray eyes, but when I’m dressed to the nines…I’m a knockout. So guys…what gives? Why don’t normal men find me attractive?

In a world where eye appeal is everything…how am I going to compete with all these sexy young gals? The few dates that I had soon after my divorce was a foretaste of things to come and I knew I had to do something drastic. So when my decision to do a complete makeover came…it wasn’t hard to decide what to do.

The first thing I did was to join Body Sculptors fitness club and get a six month membership. Since I work from 8AM to 4PM five days a week…I have to leave right after work and take the late afternoon classes, but there’s weekend classes too and I try to get to the Saturday classes as early as I can. There’s really no set time when you have to start your exercises…you start when you get there and leave when you want. Usually I’m good for two or three hours until my body tells me enough already…so I get home around seven unless I stop to get milk or a few emergency groceries and then you’re talking eight o’clock.

The second major change…at my girl friend’s prodding I might add…was to join a coed league softball team and that in its self was a surprise because as it turns out…I’m a very good softball player. We play on Sundays because everyone involved has that day off…including me. I do look cute in my softball jersey, but I have to admit that it’s kind of difficult rounding the bases after hitting a ground ball while my lopsided 34Ds are flopping all over the place…even with a sports bra on. Well, if Carol…my very buxom girlfriend and the two other girls on our coed team can manage…so can I.

I was no where near my goal of five miles, when a very deep and manly voice said,

“How are we doing Angela? Did you finish your required distance?” I rolled my eyes at the blonde 6’2″ well toned Olympian God and shook my head…mentioning,

“I did a mile and was taking a rest before doing the last four miles. Um, I’m scheduled to do five miles…right?” Steve, the exercise instructor just smiled and looked at my chart and said,

“I see. Um, I think we can move you up a bit…to the next level of difficulty. You have been level one since you started.” I rolled my eyes as I wiped the sweat off my face and said while fluttering my eye lashes,

“I like level one, besides this is only my first day. Can’t you make an exception for me just this once…pretty please?”

Steve nodded understandably and then shook his head and said,

“No…I really can’t do that…it would be unfair to everyone else here. Anyway…most people start out at level two. You’re doing the children’s level and it’s very unfair to your physical development.” Well my attempt to use my feminine wiles obviously failed and I rolled my eyes and said,

“I didn’t know that.”

I really didn’t know and Heather never said anything earlier. Steve reached over and moved the speed control dial up one notch and immediately I felt my legs moving faster just to keep up and I jumped off after a minute to regain my breath. He recorded the change on my exercise chart and flashed a smile and said,

“Now…doesn’t that feel better? You can do your remaining four miles and finish your distance goal at this new setting and get used to it. The next time you come in…you can begin doing your required distances using the new settings as your normal exercise routine?”

I was game because that’s why I’m here…for the excruciating pain and very little glory. I nodded and silently let out a moan as I got back on the treadmill and said to myself,

“One mile completed and four miles to go. God this is going to take like forever if it doesn’t kill me first.”

“I think they intend to kill us.” Out of courtesy I said,

“Pardon?”

“I think they intend to kill us.”

I looked over my left shoulder towards the voice and saw that it ankara escort emanated from the sweaty but attractive gentleman on the arm curl machine. His machine was cattycorner from me, maybe back about five feet with the wide aisle between us. His was the first one in his row and my tread mill was the last one in my row, but I guess its how you look at it. Kind of like saying that a glass is half full or half empty…which never made any sense to me. I managed a smile and said,

“Well, they certainly have nothing on the Marquis De Sade and I think they actually enjoy our agony. Too bad they didn’t take into consideration petite women with short legs like me.” The gentleman let out a smile and said,

“I agree. Hi…I’m Larry. I’ve been here three weeks, but I’m wondering if I made a big mistake…I’m not into exercise to tell you the truth.”

“Hello Larry…I’m Angela. This is my first day and I’m already wondering if I made a big mistake. To be honest, I’m trying to lose a few pounds and get myself into shape and hopefully get back into the dating game…before I’m too old to even care anymore.” Larry smiled with a nod and said,

“Me too. I’m just trying to remake myself, but I think it’s a hopeless cause. Then again…too many beers and snacks and not enough salads might have tipped my bathroom scale adversely.” I could relate to that and proceeded to explain as I tried to keep up with my treadmill’s speed increase. I explained,

“Um, after my divorce two years ago, it was just last month that I took a good hard look at myself in my bedroom mirror and didn’t like what I saw. Gosh, I’m only thirty-seven, but I was beginning to look like my mother…tons of flab everywhere I looked. Talk about a wake up call…yikes.”

Larry smiled politely and continued on with his exercises. I tweaked my head to the left a little and out of the corner of my eye, I watched Larry as he feverishly pumped his arms, while my sports bra corralled breasts bobbed and bounced in every direction possible. Sweat poured down my face and upper chest and I felt very self conscious about it…I must have looked terrible. However, as I watched him, I couldn’t imagine why he was going through this agony because he wasn’t that overweight. True, he had a few extra pounds here and there, but don’t we all? Larry was still doing his exercises when I finally finished my five miles and got off the tread mill. I took several sips of bottled spring water and then wiped myself off with my kid’s Sponge Bob beach towel and then wiped down the tread mill hand grips as it was the club rule that we clean the equipment we used. I flashed him a smile when I caught his eye and said,

“Well…good luck Larry and don’t overdo it.”

I flashed another smile and shoved my water bottle, Sponge Bob towel into my large tote bag and headed towards the front door. In a little over three hours I was finally done with my bout with agony and my body ached…but yet, where was the ecstasy? However, I was actually feeling better about myself when all was said and done and said a cheerful “bye” to Heather who was behind the front desk. She returned my “bye” and added,

“See…what did I tell you? Accomplishing your exercise goals brings out your self confidence? Now…don’t you feel better about yourself?” I nodded and gave her a doubting smile and said,

“You were right Heather…see ya at my next session…bye, bye.”

Well to be honest…if I was a tall, gorgeous twenty-seven year old without a care in the world…I would have tons of self confidence too. I struggled to push open the heavy glass door and stepped out into the hot humid evening which clung to me like a damp bath towel. I needed a shower desperately and I couldn’t wait to get home. With car keys in hand, I walked a short distance to where I was parked and my heart suddenly sank when I noticed the front tire on my three year old Dodge Caravan family hauler was flat. I sighed for a moment and then pulled out my cell phone and called triple A for roadside help. It must have been ten minutes later when Larry effortless pushed out through the glass door and saw me talking on the cell. Without hesitation, Larry walked over and asked,

“Hi Angela? Anything wrong?” I rolled my eyes and let out a long sigh of a woman dammed and pointed to my front tire which was extremely flat and said,

“I have a flat tire. I was calling triple A, but they can’t get to me for another three hours at least. They said there’s a lot of dead car batteries tonight because of this hot humid weather we’ve been having and will put me on their list.” Larry nodded and made a suggestion,

“Do you have a spare? I can change it for you and you could be on your way in ten minutes?” I bit my lower lip and thought for a moment, then said,

“I don’t want to put you out.”

“It’ll be my pleasure.” I smiled and popped the rear hatch and Larry pulled out the spare tire and jack. I apologized again elvakent escort and mentioned,

“Tom, my ex always maintained our cars and when we divorced I had to do it myself…well my garage guy did. I’m totally helpless when it comes to anything mechanical, but cooking is where I excel…as you can plainly see from looking at my rather flabby stomach.”

Larry glanced me a smile as he jacked up the car, but had to mention in a matter of fact way,

“I think you look just fine to me, just a little out of shape that’s all. I found that too many women have this unfair view of themselves and you know what…so do men. I guess I’m not one to talk because I’m going to this fitness club to whip myself into a superman or something, but isn’t that irony in its purest sense?”

I knelt down by Larry as he loosened the lug nuts on the flat tire and I asked…trying to make small talk,

“I take it…you’re divorced too…from what you said inside the club? How long were you married? Any kids?”

I smiled because I was asking fair questions, but surprisingly, Larry filled me in on his lackluster former marriage,

“I was married nine years to a woman who wanted the brass ring and never got it from me. Um, she was having an affair with this guy and well, she chose him in the end. As divorces go…we had a rather polite and amicable divorce. Even our lawyers were taken aback at how easy it was. We divided up the possessions and went our separate ways. Karen got the house and furnishing of course…I insisted on that. It was way too big for me and we didn’t have any kids so the house was no big deal to me anyway.”

I listened as I did the womanly chore of holding the hub cap as he undid each lug nut and dropped them into the hub cap so they wouldn’t get lost. I smiled and asked,

“Was she beautiful…um, your ex?”

“Yes she was very beautiful. Physical appearance was very important to her. She wore only the latest fashions and pampered herself at spas and beauty salons…like some movie star or something. She even had beautiful friends…men and women who were just as pampered as she was. Um, I felt so out of place when we attended parties and there I was rubbing elbows with the beautiful people and I was always the frog. Give me down to earth people anytime.” I smiled again and said,

“I better cancel the triple A guy…excuse me for a moment?” I pulled out my cell and made the call. I canceled the emergency call to triple A, then made another call,

“Hello mom? Um, I running a bit late…I have a flat tire. No…I’m still down at the fitness center. A very nice man offered to change my tire. No…I did call triple A, but they wouldn’t be able to get to me for three hours. How’s the kids…are they behaving? No…you tell Joey that he can’t have soda this late at night…it’ll keep him up all night. How are Sarah and Tommy? Get out…they did? Just give them a bath and I’ll wash their clothes when I get home before I take a shower. Okay mom, hold down the fort until I get home…luv ya…bye, bye.” I rolled my big blue gray eyes and knelt down by Larry and he asked,

“Trouble at home?”

“Just the usual. Um, my youngest Joey is five and has a problem with sugar and can’t have soda or candy…especially at night. If he does somehow get hold of a soda and drinks it, he’ll be wound up tighter than a clock spring and I’ll be up with him all night playing board games so he’ll get good and tired. Um my other two, Tommy…nine and Sarah…seven, somehow came into contact with a skunk and got sprayed. As we speak, my mom is giving them a bath and when I get home, I’ll give them another bath and wash or just trash their clothes. I know from experience that you really never get skunk smell out of clothes, so I just throw them in the garbage can out by our garage. Thank God my mom’s off for summer and watches the kids when I’m at work, but when she’s working…she keeps the kids with her since they all go to the same school she teaches at. My mom’s an English teacher at Dallas Area Elementary School. Ever since my dad died five years ago, she has been living with us and helps me out or I’ll surly go out of my mind from worry.” Larry nodded sympathetically and had to ask,

“Sounds like you guys live out in the country?” I had to laugh and nod…explaining,

“Yes and no. We live in a beautiful old Victorian house up in the back mountain…Dallas, a half mile past Misericordia. We have two acres that used to be part of a commercial apple orchard and we even have a few old survivors…apple trees near the woods at the back of our property…so I make apple pies when I have time. Um, we live so close to the woods, my kids are always getting poison ivy, poison oak and the occasion bee and wasp stings…so it’s not unusual to see skunks, deer, rabbits and a host of small fury critters most of the time. We even get bear visits now and then and I have to keep “Bob” our golden retriever inside until the coast is clear. By the way, besides my 24/7 job as mother and referee, my day job is being a real estate agent at Lewith and Freeman here in Kingston…and you?”

“I’m a columnist for the Times Leader over in Wilkes Barre.” I smiled and mentioned,

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