The whir of the treadmill is rhythmic, sedative. Andres runs, a steady pace, beads of sweat pool.

But now, we need a beat.

It’s my turn to run.

I leave him. Crack the door, bright sunlight confronts me. I step, hop, move. With purpose.

Through a swaying mass of swim caps, arms windmilling, stretches accompanied by Bon Jovi blasting across the pool. Troy’s voice interrupts, but only for a moment.

Woooooooooaaaahhhh we’re halfway the-ere

next up, 14 y/o girls freestyle

So much energy, all bustling and frantic as I pass. Dolphins are here, Lions too. All poised and ready to dive. I nod hello to familiar faces but signal there’s no time to chat.

A swarm of six and seven year olds dashes back and forth, kicking and chasing balls. Their coaches entreat, encourage, cajole. Elephant is there. And in between drills he sits on his ball.

don’t sit on the ball

I want to yell. But there’s no time.

We need a beat.

The tennis instructor has secured a makeshift net. Three students aligned, waiting their turn for volleys. A ball drifts off the court and into the big toy. All pavlovian impulses kick in and like a puppy I’m ready to chase.

But my purpose holds. Stay on target.

We need a beat.

I beeline into my room, grab the bluetooth speaker, a snug fit in my hand. I marvel.

And remember the four-foot speakers in my brother’s room as a boy. The delicious smell of vinyl as Supertramp told us they could see us in the morning when we went to school. I’d lay there for hours, enveloped in sound, hidden away in melody and amazement. As Earth Wind and Fire, all horn and sync and beauty, asked whether we remember.

We do.

I’m back in the race. Speaker in hand, my return trip is quick. I pass the meet, a swirl of humanity, and avoid all eye contact because I’m almost there.

The whir of the treadmill is rhythmic, sedative. Andres runs, a steady pace, beads of sweat pool.

And now we have a beat.

Published by Radutti

Teaching in Ha Noi, screwing things up daily but surviving to write about it. ...everything's perfectly all right now. We're fine. We're all fine here now, thank you. How are you?

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