St. Anthony's Stories

Jess

I always walk to my yoga class so Ben won’t wonder why I’m so rosy and cold when I get home. It’s a half-mile walk, straight shot, really, just ten minutes or so. Every Thursday I think about it all day long, I watch the minutes tick by, closer and closer to six o’clock and I begin to feel my heart race. Every week I think maybe I’ll be sick or tired and I won’t go. And every week I go anyway.

As I get closer to the big glass doors on the first floor of the fancy new condo building that just went up 18 month ago, I feel my pace slow. And as I’m approaching I can see the teacher through the windows, welcoming two rows of students in brightly colored tanks and pants. I think, I can’t walk in now, late. I’ll disrupt the whole class and what’s worse than disrupting a yoga class?

A couple of times someone ballsier than me has ducked breathlessly into class, trying to inauspiciously unroll her mat in a cramped back corner of the room while breathing deeply and trying to find her center.

Sometimes I watch the class for a while. I remember the poses for later. But mostly I just watch the students and how they react to the movements. Some are proud and limber, others clearly more in tune with their breath, some fold forward and their arms dangle many inches above the tops of their feet. Once I saw a man cry as he brought his hands to his heart.

More often, though, I walk through the neighborhood, carrying my yoga mat with me. I walk the dark streets with no destination or intention. I watch people coming home from work, struggling with groceries up the icy front steps, ungloved hands blistering red in the cold. I watch the dog walkers, talking on the phone or listening to music, cocking a hip to the side while their companions do their business. There is an old man that walks deliberately from his apartment in a residential living facility to the corner bar at six-thirty on the dot. Sometimes I follow him, afraid he’ll slip on the ice or trip over a crack in the sidewalk. He never has.

When I walk up the steps to our house, it is always at the same time, 7:25. Ben looks up from his computer and tells me that the baby is sleeping.

“How was class?”

“Great. So great.”

He looks at me with eyes full of tenderness and resentment.

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