The Pacesetter



She was gone for over a week. When I went into the women’s changing room, she was putting her bag in a locker talking to the tall brunette with Linda Hamilton’s Terminator arms. “Yes, it was an island off the coast. We took a ferry over. It was just what I needed. What we needed. Perfect. Nothing around.”

“How were the crowds?” the brunette fluffed her short hair and leaned over the counter toward the mirror.

“No crowds. It’s pretty isolated. No restaurants or touristy things. A little house and lots of nature.” She closed the locker door and watched the brunette in the mirror.

The brunette fine-lined her eyes with a dark pencil. “Sounds wonderful. And you’re off again next week?”

“No, I did the boot camp when we got back.” She leaned against the lockers.

“How’d that go?” The brunette pulled back and opened her eyes wide, took out a tube of mascara and leaned in toward the mirror.

“Great. Working out made all the difference. Janice almost didn’t make it through the ropes course, but we held it together and finished all of it.”

“Chemo-buddy?”

“Yeah, she still had a week of restriction left, but she said she was ready. She didn’t want to wait until the next one.”

The brunette pulled back again, put the mascara in a multi-colored bag and licked her lips. She took out a thin wand. “When’s that?” she spread gloss over her top lip, then bottom, and rubbed them together.

“Six months.”

“Not too long.” The brunette put the tube in the bag. She ran her fingers through her hair.

“You’re crooked,” she smiled at the brunette’s reflection.

“I know, I know. There’s not enough to keep it in place any more,” the brunette sighed.

“Shave it off.” She rubbed the top of her head with her palm. “I did.” She raised one eyebrow. “Janice did. It’s a rite of passage. It’ll grow back.”

“In time.” The brunette adjusted her hair so it was the same length on both sides, front and back.

“There’s time.” She straightened up and stretched her neck from side to side. “When’s your last session?”

“Two weeks.” The brunette zipped her bag closed and placed it in her duffle sitting on the bench.

“Still o.k.?” She extended her arm and stretched her fingers out with her other hand.

“A little tired that afternoon, but the next day I’m fine.” The brunette zipped her duffle and smoothed her skirt down.

“You should sign up for the next boot camp,” she suggested.

The brunette slung the duffle over her shoulder. “Yeah, email me the information.”

She nodded.

They followed me out. The brunette turned right toward the door to the parking lot. She came upstairs behind me. While I did bench presses, she did back pulls. When I rested between sets, she walked front kicks around the track. I finished and she was still doing sprints; her resolve setting the pace.

#chemotherapy #exercise #resiliency #resolve #resolution #fitness #health

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