Exercise Stamina

Since her diet plan had derailed, thirtysomething homemaker Kayla Sawicki realized that, to lose weight, she would have to get some good, regular exercise. She searched YouTube for a regimen that might do her the trick and hit on the Hi-Flyin' Workout, a program designed by a professional fitness trainer. The Hi-Flyin' Workout was full of exercise to slim and tone arms, flatten stomachs, and firm legs. It's everything I should do all in one neat package, Kayla thought beside herself with glee.

She watched and re-watched the trainer's video to learn the program, got herself choice exercise gear (namely a comfortable teal sweat suit and a snazzy pair of athletic shoes), and tried the workout in her living room one morning after her husband had gone to work. Kayla struggled from the get-go. She pressed hard to do a first push up; her arms lifted her only inches before she collapsed into the carpet. She raised her head to do a crunch, but her shoulders hardly stirred. Good Lord, she told herself as her head fell backwards.

Just then, her smartphone pinged on the carpet nearby. She had the phone by her from habit as she liked to respond to messages quickly. Her plan had been to check the device only after she had done her exercise. However, she turned now onto her side and reached for the phone. I have had some good strain, she told herself. I can stand a break. On the phone, she discovered her friend Marge O'Donnell had texted: Amy's engaged to Tom. Marge had spoken often to Kayla of her niece Amy and her boyfriend of the last year. Kayla was glad to hear the two were going to marry; it seemed in order that she text back her congratulations and ask for details. So she did. In the flurry of messages that followed, Marge told her that Tom had proposed by a waterfall! and that Amy's parents were enthusiastic: They're sure he's a real catch. Kayla felt thrills run along her spine. Wonderful, she texted. The two friends messaged back and forth until finally they promised to talk that afternoon.

The phone down, Kayla turned again to her workout. She went at it with fresh vigor to make up for her texting session. The effort had some interesting results. She came off a sit-up, her back wobbling, and had no choice but to roll onto her side. It did not feel good. Cycling her legs in the air, her stomach began twitching spasmodically. Like I've become Jell-O, she felt with a kind of horror. She did not believe this could be exercise. But it was.

As she tried to keep her moving body under control, her smartphone pinged. Glad for the interruption, Kayla reached for the phone. Her friend Lynn Rivera had sent several texts and left a voicemail to say she had overspent on a dress and was worried it would upset her husband. I hoped we could figure out what I should do, Lynn wrote. Call me back. Kayla considered the exercise she had remaining but felt the urgency to do it slipping away. It is only heaving and lifting, she thought. But who knew the trouble Lynn might get over that dress? A true friend and fellow housewife had to offer help.

Kayla dialed Lynn's number. Switching between joy and anxiety, Lynn told her about the sky blue, cotton dress, "a true keeper", and the likely fury her spouse would have over its cost. Kayla gave her the apt "I believe it"s when right. Then, the two of them hatched a plan to win over Lynn's husband, George. They decided Lynn would wear the dress to the coming dinner date where her spouse meant to impress his new colleague. "Help George make a connection, and he'll never think poorly about the dress in your life," Kayla said. Yes, a good plan, she told herself. The two friends ended the call with a promise to have lunch later that week.

Now back to my exercise, Kayla thought with a sigh. She resumed the over-demanding process. Her back smarted as she lifted her legs. Her buttocks slid without warning during a side curl, causing her to fall on an arm. "I am unhinging!" she cried. Suddenly, new pings greeted her ears. Out flew Kayla's hand and fetched the phone. Her housewife friend Doris Palermo had texted Grace Allison is joining the cast of Blues Crossing. Grace Allison, as Kayla knew well, was an actress gaining popularity on TV; Blues Crossing was a favorite show that she and Doris watched. What exciting news! Kayla wanted to learn all about it. How much more pleasant it sounded than her current workout! She texted her friend. With a sort of gratitude, she lost herself in the new texts that rolled in from Doris.

Kayla continued to field her friends' messages as she tried to exercise over the following days. Two weeks passed for her in eager distraction as she did only a leg lift or two each morning. Then, one day, she pulled on a pair of favorite jeans to go out shopping and could not get them up her thigh. She checked her weight on the scale and discovered she was seven pounds heavier than previously. She had to have gained it, she knew, since her first attempt at a workout. I have derailed my weight loss plan once more, she realized and gave a forlorn cry. Then she texted Lynn, hoping for words of comfort.


Norbert Kovacs lives and writes in Hartford, Connecticut. He has published microfiction in Blink-InkNanoism, and 101 Words. See more at www.norbertkovacs.net. 



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