Read Training in Love Online

Authors: Manuela Pigna

Training in Love (9 page)

BOOK: Training in Love
7.2Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

“Yes,”
I reply tersely, a little because of his disdainful tone, and a little because
I will never tell him about my real motivations.

He
is quiet and then says softly, even if the volume doesn’t mitigate the
bitterness in his voice, “Right, good for you. Go tell it to someone else.”

I
turn to look at him a little stunned. I don’t understand what his problem is,
if I’ve done something to him or if he has personal problems and is taking it
out on me, but I decide to not let him do it, so I don’t answer.

“What
is your real motivation?” He repeats when he sees I’m not going to answer his
comment, and I don’t answer his direct question either. I wouldn’t be able to
anyway, even if I wanted to, because I need my air to remain alive at the
moment.

He
runs a hand through his hair, agitated, and huffs. Differently from myself, he
has no respiratory problems. “You always do that. If someone asks you a
question that you don’t want to answer – for obscure reasons only you know –
you don’t even try to say something. You just shut up. And a person finds
himself there, in front of a wall of silence.”

I
turn to look at him, completely dumbfounded as I gasp for air.

He
looks at me in turn and repeats slowly, “What is your motivation?”

I
jerk towards the road in front of me without answering.

“At
the least, it has to do with some guy. You’re all like that, all the same.”

I
freeze again, in a completely different humor than the one before. I stare at
him a moment, waiting for him to notice that I’m no longer beside him. He
doesn’t take long and comes back, like before, but when he’s about to raise his
hand, I beat him to it. “I’m going back, today we’re stopping here,” I say
turning around and going in the direction we came from.

Andrea
wants to argue with me, but I won’t allow him to.

I
feel my arm grabbed roughly. “Oh no you don’t! We aren’t finishing anything!
We’ll finish when I say so!”

“What
the he-” But I can’t finish the sentence because he’s pushing me in front of
him.

I
take two running steps after his push and then I stop again, trying to turn
back, but he takes me by an arm and turns me around again, pushing me, again
and again. “Andrea stop it! I can’t breathe anymore!”

He
continues to push me and his hands on my shoulders keep me going forward for a
few more meters, mostly because I’m trying to get away from them, but as soon
as I manage to free myself, I feel them again. As a result of this little game
I’m running even harder than before at too fast a pace and, in fact, I stop
shortly afterwards, breathless. He pushes me again and I lurch away from his
hands, again in the opposite direction. He tries to grab me and I take another
step backwards yelling, “What the hell is wrong with you?”

He
doesn’t answer. He stares at me and puts out his hand which I manage to elude once
again.

“What
is your problem today?” I yell in his face again.

He
pulls a half smile. “Annoying, isn’t it? When people don’t answer you?”

I
glower at him. He takes my right arm, trying to pull me, while I push in the
opposite direction. “Let me go!” I yell, totally confused by his behavior. “I’m
dying, I can’t do it anymore!” I tell him in a lower tone of voice, to get him
to reason. “I can’t breathe!”

He
lets me go and says, “Let’s continue.”

I
shake my head even before speaking. “No… I’m dying…”

“You
can’t die because of a bullshit little run like this one.”

It’s
at this point, faster than a thought, that my arm comes up by itself to slap
him, but unfortunately he’s faster still and blocks my hand five centimeters
from his face, grabbing my wrist. Instinctively I try to hit him with the other
hand and he blocks that too. For two seconds we stay like that, with my hands
almost on his face and my wrists in his hands. Suddenly he twists both my arms,
bringing them behind my back without letting go of my wrists. This position
brings me closer to him, closer in the sense of glued to him from chest to
knees. I feel a panic attack coming on. That is, I’ve never had a panic attack,
but I think that’s what I’m having now. I’m almost dizzy with anxiety.

I
fight to detach myself with all my strength, which compared to his is nil
evidently, because he looks at me with his brows furrowed as though he were
trying to resolve a puzzle, and as he holds on to me his breathing doesn’t even
alter.

After
a few minutes of mortifying struggling, I finally understand that I will never
win against him and give up, relaxing immediately. I concede, lowering my head
and gaze to his chest. Reddening because of the new and embarrassing feeling of
my big, flaccid body leaning against his – but surrendering anyway to the
inevitable. At that point he detaches himself abruptly, as though he were
burned, in a completely contradictory way.

We
stay like that – scowling at each other for a few seconds, both breathing hard.
Even though his breath seems to have come out of no-where, since up until two
seconds ago it seems to me he was breathing just fine.

I
decide to take control, so while I rub my wrists, I break the silence, “Have
you lost your mind?”

He
runs a hand through his hair and shakes his head without answering.

“Why
are you angry with me?”

“I’m
not angry with you.”

“Nooo…”
I say with exaggerated innocence. “Are you angry for some reason of your own
and were looking for someone to take it out on?”

He
shakes his head again and walks towards the start of the bike track. “Let’s go
back.”

“Thank
God…” I whisper.

When
we get to where we started, the feared moment of stretching begins.

Andrea
begins the first position and I, a little way off, copy him. We are silent and
I’m fairly confident that today it will go well, like before. I almost don’t
see him coming, when he quickly grabs me like a predator with his prey. He was
as still as a statue two seconds before moving.

“Andrea!”
I yell with exasperation while I try to wiggle away, but it’s not easy since
I’m lying face up. “You do it and I’ll copy you! What’s your problem with ‘you
do it and I’ll copy’?”

“My
problem is that I didn’t decide it, that I don’t want to do it like that and I
don’t see why I, who have studied for years, have to obey someone who has spent
three-quarters of her life lying on a couch!” He replies.

I
seem to be dealing with Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde… what’s happened to the polite
boy I first met?

I
look at him, astonished. “What-the-hell-is-your-problem-today?”

He
doesn’t answer, he just looks at me while he maneuvers my legs as though they
were made of putty and while I continue to wiggle.

After
a while I puff, “My God you’re unbearable today!”

He
comes near to my face and says, “You are all the time!”

I
inhale sharply, struck, despite myself.

Hurt,
despite myself.

I
should have known not to let myself go, ever, with anyone. Not even for two
seconds. Not even in my thoughts. I should know enough not to believe in
anyone. I should have known that the pain was always there waiting.

My
eyes fill with tears, despite myself.

He’s
on top of me and I turn my head to the side so he won’t see, but it’s too late.

“Olly,”
he says, suddenly tender, trying to turn my face towards his, but I bat his
hand away and this time he lets himself be hit. He even moves and lets me go,
finally. I jump up and run towards my car. He runs after me. “Olly!”

I
shake my head, without turning. I hear him sigh loudly behind me and exclaim,
“God, you’ll drive me crazy!”

I
get in my car and leave, without looking back, without even saying goodbye.

***

Thursday
morning. Today Nic arrived directly with Linda, who, as promised, has come in
to check the question of levels personally.

Tuesday,
after that absurd workout on Saturday, there was a moment of initial
embarrassment. As soon as I arrived, Andrea smiled at me and said, “I didn’t
think you’d even show up today. I thought you wouldn’t come anymore.”

“Why?”
I answered and he pushed a hand through his hair. “Because, about Saturday… I… owe
you an apology.”

“Relax,
I’ve lived with a crazy person for a lot of years. I’m used to it.”

He
laughed, embarrassed, and then added, “No, I want to apologize, because you
were right. Friday evening I had a conversation… a person told me something
that… anyway, Saturday morning I was still upset and angry.”

“So
you see that I didn’t have anything to do with it and you just felt like
arguing with someone?” I answered him smiling, so he’d see I didn’t hold a
grudge.

He
looked at me, not moving for a second and then nodded looking away. “So you’ll
forgive me?” He asked softly, looking at his shoes, and frankly, I had already
done so as soon as I had seen him get out of his car. Because the world and
life are unjust and they make us weak before beauty.

“Of
course,” I said understandingly, and I smiled at him to show him that
everything was ok. Because if there’s one thing we overweight people know how
to be, it’s understanding.

He
smiled looking up, visibly relaxed, after which the workout went more or less
as usual. We chatted and at the moment of stretching we bickered.

Now
Nic and Linda are seated at a table (today I have the tables) and Andrea should
arrive any minute. And I am really nervous. I’m particularly nervous because in
a little bit Andrea will see Linda for the first time and he’ll fall in love
with her. And this thought has already made me eat two muffins. Today listening
to my stomach will be especially hard. Even my mantra will be fairly
impractical today.

“Olly!”
Leo calls me from the kitchen. “Your cake is ready.”

This
morning, for the first time, he let me make a cake by myself on the understanding
that I’d do it later. I chose to make a blueberry tart. I enter the kitchen and
go directly to the counter where it’s sitting. “Hey, it looks delicious!”

Leo
nods. “If some is left over I’ll try it later.”

“There
won’t be any left over!” I say smiling and I take it with both hands. Leo
smiles to himself. “We’ll see…”

When
I go back out front, I take less than a second to sense the presence of Andrea.
I always know when he’s here, as though he had a microchip with GPS implanted
under his skin.

I
cut the tart without looking up at their table and I arrange it on the cake
stand in the window. I’m too nervous, and too cowardly, and for these reasons
am avoiding looking up and meeting their eyes. I don’t have the courage to see
love flower between those two particular people. Unexpectedly, another half
chocolate muffin ends up in my mouth.

Rosy
arrives behind me while I arrange the tart a little more artistically. “I was thinking…
I figure enough time has gone by to be able to ask the blond guy to give me his
number.”

The
fate of the other half muffin is decided. I look at it, waiting for a better
moment to eat it.

“Will
you ask him for it? And then, today there’s a gorgeous blond girl with them and
I don’t want her to beat me to him.”

I’m
about to nod when I think, “No.” No. Another exercise from Andrea’s book is
about standing up for yourself with people. To say “no” when you want to say
“no”. And that’s it. Because overweight people often say “yes” when they don’t
want to, trying to please others in any way they can. It has to do with an
attempt to be liked.

I
decide to carry out the exercise right then and there and, even if there’s a
trace of anxiety in my belly, I decide that I can also do without Rosy liking
me. “No.”

“What?”

I
turn towards her. “No, I won’t ask him.”

“Why?”
She looks at me with a half sneer. She’s undoubtedly thinking that I like him -
an obviously completely futile thing - and that I’m jealous. Inside I’m
wavering, but I resist. I don’t care about being liked by Rosy.

“Excuse
me, at your age, why don’t you ask him yourself? I have to ask him for it as
though we were grade school?” I’m proud of myself, it turned out great. Maybe I
can avoid the other half of the muffin.

I
dart a brief look at the table in question. Andrea is seated beside Nic, who is
now partially hidden from my line of vision, and he’s smiling at Linda with
that perfect smile of his. Linda has her hair loose on her shoulders and is
smiling back at Andrea. Her cheeks are a little pink which stands out on her
pearly skin, that of a true blond. And, if possible, this contrast makes her
more beautiful than usual. No, unfortunately the fate of the other half of the
muffin is decided. I take it and pop all of it in my mouth, then I chew in a
rush because I can’t put off the moment of truth when I’ll go to take the
orders. For once I wish that Rosy had to do it.

BOOK: Training in Love
7.2Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

Scavengers by Christopher Fulbright, Angeline Hawkes
The Holy Thief by William Ryan
In the Arms of an Earl by Small, Anna
Islam and Terrorism by Mark A Gabriel
Opened Ground by Seamus Heaney
Root by A. Sparrow