It had been six weeks since I’d been able to breathe, six weeks since the blow to my chest had left my heart charleyhorsed with leftover ache and my lungs restricted. I was living the emotional equivalent of that hackneyed action movie scene, the one where the heroine has been underwater far too long. Just when you think she’s going to die she slashes through the surface and grabs air in big lusty gulps.
I was drowning in several different versions of the truth, all of them weighing me down like kettlebells tied to my ankles.
I had neglected my yoga practice for months. My once limber body had gone stiff, the way Skittle colored Play Doh starts out with the best intentions and gradually dries up, never living up to its full potential.
It dessicates, morphing into the humorless version of itself. Hard, but incredibly easy to crack.
I wished I was doing anything else except a practice whose apparel has become literally the butt of endless online stories. I resent seeing people everywhere refer to “leggings” as “yoga pants.” Those aren’t “driving gloves” unless you regularly wrap them around a steering wheel.
Yoga was not meant to be fashion and if you’ve never worn those pants while doing an inversion, just refer to them as leggings and I can end this paragraph a little less exasperated.
So I went to a Saturday afternoon yoga class; not just any yoga, but hot yoga, which, for the uninitiated, means doing advanced poses in a sauna. A room heated to 104 degrees, with humidity at 40%. I dread it. But I’m convinced it’s the only way to flush out the toxins that have been doing the Foxtrot through my bloodstream since those poison darts leapt off the computer screen and took aim at my heart.
And I’m clinging fiercely to the idea that I’ll have a yoga-induced spiritual epiphany that explains why I choose relationships which reinforce just how little I think I deserve.
Or at least lose a few pounds.
After the teacher chants and instructs us to leave all our earthly possessions at the door, we begin in downward dog, or in my case, sweaty dog panting from heat.
The teacher leads us in a series of sun salutations that get progressively faster and more complicated and I get in touch with why the phrase “hot as hell” was coined. I played yogi slip n slide in my own perspiration and I mull over the possibility that the organs of my body can actually become steamed.
I look at myself in the mirror, a vain counter-yogic move, and in triangle pose notice the cute guy behind me staring at my ass. I’ve noticed him noticing me before; I’ve heard people chat with him and his name is either Don or Jon; it’s hard to be certain in a room constantly waterlogged in sweaty acoustics.
Today, though, I obsess over the sweat droplets that have come together for an impromptu party in my ass crack and wonder if he can see them through the stretched-to-within-an-inch-of-its-life Lycra that covers my butt. And after I shower and dress and check my phone, he’s still lingering around the front of the yoga center. Which can only mean that he’s waiting for ME.
And he is. Don/Jon approaches me and suggests coffee at the Dunkin Donuts next door and I go. I go because it’s a lazy Saturday afternoon in January, and because my kid is with his father; and because I’m high from having pushed my body to its limits and from fresh blood flow; I go because I like Don/Jon’s puppy doggish exuberance and his obvious pursuit of me – but mostly, I go because I love coffee.
I really love coffee.
My caffeine addiction is the only one I have that hasn’t pushed my dreams off a cliff. I’ve never risked my life for coffee. Not that I wouldn’t; it’s just that one doesn’t have to cruise questionable neighborhoods to procure coffee.
Up close and away from the curtain of steam that blurs everything in the room, Don/Jon is really cute. Lithe, sinewy yoga body aside, he has great hair, a sexy smile and a killer sense of humor.
I’m not typically attracted to men who do yoga. Every downward douche I’ve ever seen in a yoga class has ended up hooking up with one of the women in the class. It’s why they GO. But I like the idea that I accepted his invitation; that I’m not so jaded that I can’t still occasionally surprise myself.
Coffee talk stretches into late afternoon and I’m surprised to see that its getting dark out. And surprised even more when Don/Jon asks if I’d like to try a Mexican restaurant near his house that he says makes the freshest Pico de gallo this side of Guadalajara. And killer Margaritas, although I don’t really drink.
But I did that evening.
Tequila augments my natural flirtiness and my insecurities are alcohol soluble. I feel attractive because I can feel that he feels attracted to ME. Which is less like an Escher painting than it sounds.
I get tipsy, which shuts off some of the noise in my brain but turns on other noise. We bond over our love for movies, and music, and Breaking Bad, which he talks me into watching at his house.
We end up back at his townhouse, where he makes us more Margaritas and now I am drunk. He has an enormous cozy plush grey couch which looks like a big blimpy manatee, and I sink into the Netflix imprint his butt left in the corner cushion.
Predictably, he starts to kiss me and I haven’t decided how attracted I am to him. But I’m drunk and cozy and sunk into his manatee couch, and at the moment I’d rather kiss him back then push my tequilla-drenched ass into the frosty night.
I hate the cold.
We have 20 minutes of nondescript sex and afterwards he winds around me like a broken slinky. And I’m thinking I’d like to leave before the sweat dries. Which makes me sound like a sport-fucking man-eater, but it’s really just a way I avoid feeling anything for anyone, and has a high success rate.
I often fantasize about creating an actuarial model using statistics to determine the probability of various romantic risks based on the engagement or avoidance of certain behaviors, and the emotional consequences of those risks. Assign value to certain behaviors and develop mathematical models to evaluate the future romantic implications of, say, performing various sex acts. Or cuddling after. Leaving, or staying the night.
I stay. I don’t want to come off like bitch. I’m anything but a bitch.
I just play one on the Internet.
He falls asleep and I lay there with his arm draped across me, heavy as a fallen tree limb and I stare at the ceiling and write this blog post in my head.
Until about 6:00 am, when dawn’s first light streaks across the sky and I noiselessly hurry to leave, like a vampire in reverse. I get dressed and gather my things and tip toe out, leaving him asleep.
I feel like a ninja escaping into the bruise-colored dawn. I make a clean getaway
I think about him one more time as I pull into my driveway; just once more so I can leave him outside and that’s when it occurs to me, I never found out if his name is Don or Jon. Which bothers me less than the fact that I’m going to have to find a new yoga studio.
I don’t have any specific questions. I’m just glad you’re here.
Talk to me. I’m listening.