Before I begin, I rummage with my eyes a cold grill with the intent to feed on anyone who steps in my personal space. Anyone who glares at me from a distance gets the fuck you look as well because I share this gym with the rest of everybody. I forge my right to be here by the numbers, by the purpose of colossal concentration, by the visualization of the day and the body action at night. I grip the steel of the dumbbell and I surge with immeasurable power before a single rep has been executed or an exercise exercised. It all starts in the mind.
It may be the luck of being a woman, or a dependent on the man, who stands in front of me, but, there are times where I display my puppy dog eyes big and wide and remain uncomplaining, waiting by a bench like a sit dog sit until their hearts soften and they pass the bench along to me entirely without a moments hesitation. I thank the stranger and smile with a queen’s happiness and during his training session I’ll boost his ego (and he’ll train harder) for being nice to me by staring him up and down attentively while he strengthens his temple.
Now I’m seated with an angry face and underneath my baggy shirt from the mirror I can see my muscles working, how glorious they look, tenacious, pumped and embellished. To the left of me, I gaze at my arm in motion, performing an incline bicep curl nonchalant as taking a selfie in public. To the right of me, an array of men peers onward with a combination of riddled emotions and contemplated expressions.
And in the background, there’s a woman highly amused by the numbers on the weight I’m lifting. She can’t for the life of her stop looking at my face and the unleashing of effort that cannot be contained. She can’t stop watching the way I grate my lips with violent teeth noticing how my mouth turns sweltering red when I come close to failure.
Who knows if it’s out of delight
she observes or
if the very thought
of my passion
gives her nausea
through her eyes?