he confidently strides up to the treadmill between me and a young woman grinding out the miles. they apparently casually know each other.
“you shaved your head,” she says.
“yeah, so it wouldn’t get in my way while whitewater rafting,” he replies.
he is in his mid-30s; she is in her early 20s. he is working hard to impress. too hard.
“you got an earring,” she questions.
“yeah, it’s just a starter one. i’m going to get a bigger one. and a tattoo. they say you can’t shave your head without getting an earring and a tattoo.”
they idly chat. it’s going nowhere.
she is yet to be won over by his older man mystique. you can feel her losing interest. he is running out of material. he swings for the fences.
“too bad it’s been so hot; i don’t get to ride my Harley as much.”
her eyes light up. she smiles. he has connected.
“you have a Harley? that’s great! both my parents have Harleys!”
i struggle to continue running as the oxygen is sucked out of the room. it’s worth it.