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MONDAY 30 JUNE 2003
ACTION EQUALS SATISFACTION

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The boredom drove me to it. "For too long now I have just been getting through the day. Do you know what it feels to desperately search out ways to occupy yourself before you can go to sleep again?" That's what my friend wrote in his alarmed email this morning, and it rang a bell. A goddamned treacherous screaming bell, and so I said, right, that is IT, and I stood up from my chair, and I closed down the internet, and I pulled off all my clothes except my pants, and I put the sports bra around my chest and did it up and spun it round and put my arms through the holes and laughed at how it looked, and I pulled on the black trousers made from the scritchy-scratchy sweat-eating material, and I tugged the expensive beige sweat-eating top, and then I grabbed the terrycloth wristband with the pink neon stripe and shoved it up my wrist, and then I mashed on my olde skoole adidas and then I clumped around to the mirror and stuck one hip out at an angle and struck a pose. It was Gym Time.

Gym Time has been on my lips and on my list for months now, but have I gone? Have I buggery. Have you? Of course not. Who does? Well, all the people I saw, they did. What possesses a woman to wear cycling shorts in grey marl? When there are delicious flarey scritchy-scratchy black trousers for sale that make you look Cool and Lovely? Freak. I rode my little bicycle there and the elastic bits that are purely for show on the bottom of my scritchy-scratchy trousers got all tangled up around my pedals, but I didn't mind, I just pulled the stupid elastic bits off. Nothing was going to stop me. I was going to the cocking gym and that's just the way it was gonna be.

They never really change. I mean, the room was bigger. Longer. The class was pretty oldstyle, but I knew I'd never find a teacher to match up to Skinny Mike, and with this health - these fag-scorched lungs, these drug-molested nostrils, this alcohol-ravaged booty - who am I to complain? Half-way through I pulled the wristband from my wrist and dragged it around my fuscia face. I was having Fun; getting so drenched and exhausted I thought I'd fall, counting one-two-three-four now knee-lift and back onto step and turn away from step and quickly one-two up on the step knee lifting arms twisting and elevating and again one-two-three-four and yes. Liminal states, the mind finally battered to quietitude, the body asserting its dominance once more. The legs quivering for the slow march to the shower, body hot, wet, stinging.

I'm just going to have to get used to being naked, I told myself, as I lowered my head and curled my torso forwards and reached behind me for the clasp of my bra. I peeled it off and then peeled off my socks and trousers and pants and deposited them on my burning trainers. I grabbed for my towel that Sam had given me, with the fawn and the bunny and the mushroom on it, and quickly wrapped it around me with relief. The showers were communal. I'm just going to have to get used to being naked, I repeated in my head. There was another girl in there and I peeped at her body: how odd, she is a different shape to me, bigger: the waist indents differently, her buttocks look small and flat, her hips high.

Get used to being naked. It is hours later, now, and I lie in bed. My head feels different to before. I have found my summer obsession. This isn't premature. This is how it will be. Just as a muscle retains a memory of how it was once trained, years later - it will never take as long to strengthen as it did the very first time, for it has learned what to do and how to do it - so too do I know exactly what is going to happen. I will be there every day, five times per week. Sometimes I will do two classes back to back. In order to explain it to my friends, I will tell them that the way I feel when I trek from the class to the changing-room - head blurry, swimming, eyes down, all focus on the simple yet beautiful act of walking, limbs turned to butter, heavy as stone - I will tell them this feels like ecstasy, that I am simply exploring endorphins and adrenaline as we have explored dopamine and seratonin.

I will get used to being naked. As I lie here, my body resting lightly on the futon, duvet pulled high, thumb in mouth, hair round fingers, I realise what is going to happen. One session, just one, and the body makes clear its demands. I slide my hand down my body as I think about what I am going to do. What he is going to do. I will make him do it. When I am finished, I am going to get out of bed. I am going to look for the number. I will summon him.


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