Tag Archives: death

Zumba: 1, Corey: 0

If only we could look on the outside how we feel on the inside.

If only we could look on the outside how we feel on the inside.

I have a varsity letter for cheerleading. I dead-lifted 155 lbs for time at CrossFit. I own really nice running shoes. And I’ve watched two whole seasons of So You Think You Can Dance. So how hard can it be to wiggle around to some music? So hard that today, I came to the realization that I will never, ever, even remotely, be considered cool. Hell, cool probably isn’t even cool anymore. Now it’s sick. Or maybe sick was yesterday’s term. I’ll tell you what’s really sick. Sick is that Zumba crap. And I don’t mean sick like cool. I mean sick like you’d have to be out of your ever loving mind to want to try that stuff once you’ve hit the back side of forty.

Back to my demise of cool. It started when I would joke with a young waitress and she would fake laugh like I was witty and scurry off to get me another diet Coke. I figured she just didn’t get the joke, right? Then, one day I made a clever comment to a few college age kids at a gas station. I honestly think I saw one of them roll their eyes. Seriously? I am cool. I do not look my age. I can still do the splits. I’ve even got rap music with explicit lyrics in my iTunes. But today was the final epiphany. Today, sobbing in the parking lot of the community center, it finally hit me: I am my mother’s age. I will never be cool again. I am old.

What brought me to this stark realization? Zumba. Actually, it wasn’t even Zumba, because this class doesn’t bother with the licensing fees. It was “dance fitness.” I got my ass handed to me by something called dance fitness. Oh, I hear you, sister. It took you two months before you could get all of the choreography. I’m catching your drift; it was the hardest thing to figure out that body roll. But here’s the thing: I didn’t leave dance fitness six minutes into the class because I felt like I couldn’t physically handle the grueling arm movements. No, this class gave me a mental beat down.

I would describe to you in length the intricate series of kicks and flicks and popping and locking that was going on all around me in dance fitness, but it would only underline my ever loosening grasp on the modern world. This body roll thingy? Honey, rolls go on a plate. If a roll is going to be a part of my body, it’s going to be from the inside out in the form of cellulite. My body rolls hang over the top of my pants. They peek out from beneath the backside of my bra strap. They are not part of any sort of rhythmic or graceful movement. And this pelvic thrust action with coordinating arm movements? Listen, I’ve got two kids, and a stork didn’t leave them on my door-step. I have been privy to some pelvic thrusting in my day. But not in front of a giant mirror and six other spandex clad thrusters. It’s awkward when I’m watching TV with my kids and the dance to Greased Lightning from Grease comes on. Do you really think I’m going to jerk my baby maker back and forth with clenched fists at my side in front of God and everybody? I don’t think so.

I went to the Zumba website, just to take a look. Maybe I was looking for a chat room where I could find some sort of support group for Zumba drop outs. You know what I found? They had the nerve to describe their “fitness-parties” as “easy to follow.” Well, turn out the lights, that party is over. Maybe I should have dipped into the kids’ ADHD meds before I went, because I was totally lost. Better yet, maybe I should have brought some for the instructor because as soon as I would get one part of my body moving the same way hers was, she would totally change what she was doing! It would be like asking your grandmother to climb Mt. Everest and just about the time she’s making it to the top you yell, “Never mind, Grandma, we’re going to climb this mountain over here instead!”

So if you’re wondering where you’ll find me in the morning, it won’t be at dance fitness. I’ll be somewhere totally uncool like drinking coffee and talking about the weather, or at the Piggly Wiggly buying some Activia. This old broad won’t be shaking her way into shape. Sign me up for Silver Sneakers. I’ll go sit on a folding chair and do arm curls with 12 ounce cans of vegetable soup.

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Trucks in the Sand

She ran through the woods, breaking through beams of sunlight as her laughter trailed behind her. In the exuberance of her youth she was never winded. Her feet moved from dirt to water to leaves without thought as she chased her dreams down the slope of the ravine. Miles away, he pushed his truck through the sand. The sounds of squeaking swings and children’s voices filled the air around him. His lips vibrated with the noise of a motor and he maneuvered his vehicle across the sandbox, planning his upcoming attack. They had never met. Their eyes had never locked in a glance. He had never heard her sing to her baby doll and she had never watched as he tried to be brave after falling and skinning his knee. Yet years later as she lay in bed, twisting to find the ultimate position of comfort then drifting off to slumber as gently as a summer breeze through an open window; he stood guard in the heat of the desert, eyes alert and mind racing; as trucks rolled by in the sand. He would protect her with his life, this girl he’d never met; now a woman with children of her own. He would not question her devotion, but persevere in his. He was bound by honor, by duty, by destiny; and giving up his freedom to protect hers was as natural as the blood that coursed through his veins. She would never know him. She would never know why he chose to serve her. Some days went by and she didn’t even think of him. But in her heart of hearts she knew he was there and she took comfort in it. She prayed that a gloved hand would never pause above an officer’s brow as his mother clutched a folded flag. And whenever she saw one of his comrades in an airport or a grocery or on the street, she would thank him; even though she knew her words would never reach them all. Miles away, she was the last thing on his mind, yet he continued to fight for her as if she was in his heart.

Arms of the Ocean

I stood at the edge of the water with my bare feet slowly sinking in the soft sand beneath me. With each supple current from the rising tide, I settled deeper and deeper into the earth below. Over my shoulder hung the moon; unashamed, undeniable, whole. Her glow too dim to cast shadows, but bright enough to illuminate my fears. As the moments passed, my breathing aligned with the rhythm of the waves. It felt as if we had become one organism, oscillating in the cool night air, flowing into each other. I was lost in the waves; absent from my thoughts, floating in my memories. My balance had become shaky now that my feet were completely covered; one heel resting lower than the other. Without disturbing my base, I slowly sat down on the cold granules numbering greater than my imagination. At first they were rough on my thighs, but as my limbs began to numb in the wind, the sand became supple and comforting like a plush blanket of velvet. A gull flew overhead, crying out into the darkness, but I did not try to locate it. My vision was blurred in the deep purple before me. There was no horizon in the night. There was no end to my sister sea. She wrapped her fingers around me as the chilly air filled my lungs and released me back into the darkness with each breath I exhaled. I was deadened to my sorrow. Nothing remained; no hope, nor sadness, nor fear. All that remained was a void that was meant to be. My eyes grew heavy and I longed for rest, so I leaned back into the cradle of the shore and let the arms of the ocean cover me.

Six Years

Six years and I still hear your voice
Booming loud above the noise of the world
Six years and I still hear you humming
Never waiting for the music to start
Six years and I feel your lap beneath me
Stroking my hair and playing with my fingernails
Six years and I still feel the floor vibrate
Rattling the window as you walk down the hall
Six years and you’re still scheming
Another gadget to slip into the house
Six years and it’s time for a jigger
Maybe a finger more
Six years and there’s no one like you
No one to fill your void
Six years and I still miss you
Forever my soul mate, my friend
Six years that feel like a lifetime
Yet only the blink of an eye

Two Empty Chairs

When the air begins to get crisp, they meet out at a cabin in the woods. One by one they trickle in, down the dirt road and up to the little lodge. Most of their lives and all of their pretenses are left behind when they travel that bumpy road. Each one has something special to share whether it’s food or drink or possessions or stories. Activities have become habits and habits have become traditions. The first one in will light a fire and pour a drink that will soon become a round as the others arrive. They will be well settled by the time I arrive. As I climb out of my truck I will be enveloped by the smell of smoke and whiskey and the feel of stubble and fleece. Although I was born several decades too late and am of the wrong gender, they have allowed me into their brotherhood. Most have known me since my first days. They have watched me grow from baby to girl to woman and have walked beside me though happiness and heartbreak. They stand beside me without question and when others drift they remain to tell me about how things would be if they were but thirty years younger. Their actions are those of gentlemen even when their words are not. They find me a chair and pour me a glass and we tell dirty jokes and talk about women and morons and each other. The world stands still while we sit in the cold waiting on the evening’s meal. And each night when the time comes, they offer me just one more and I decline and slip off into the night. Their jobs change, their wives change and their lifestyles change, but the bonds that have been forged in the fall night air always remain the same. And now the season approaches. The temperature is dropping and you can almost smell the weather. The tracks are fresh and the rye is green as leaves gently float to the ground. I know my next encounter is just around the corner and I’m getting excited about seeing my motley crew. But now my heart is heavy and I wonder how I will feel. I know we will have laughter. I know we will have stories. I know we will eat and drink and talk about everything and nothing. Yet this time it will be different. There will be cold beer in the cooler and fresh scallops on the stove-top, but this season there will be two empty chairs.

Thinking of Thomas Lee Shannon and Bob McKinnon. May they both rest in peace.