Body and Mind
Impossibly bright stars fill the sky like silver glitter sprayed from a fire hose. And, to our good fortune, we’ve chosen to climb on the night of the summer’s largest meteor shower. Each shooting star is like a Roman candle.
We lived in a small yellow three-bedroom ranch on a dead-end street with no circle to turn around in: the street just ended. I had my own room, and my younger sister, Jody, had hers. There were big bay windows in front and a deck off the back, and my father built the house himself.
Standing at the entrance to the aerobics room, I think, All I have to do is get through the next forty-five minutes. I tell myself that kickboxing sounds like fun, not dreadful or boring. I chose kickboxing because it resembles martial arts — something I studied briefly in the past.
I met my boyfriend through the personals. His ad said that he was looking for a woman who was “athletic.” I assumed that was a code word for “thin.” After we’d been dating for several months, he told me I was wrong, that “athletic” had actually meant athletic.
Two days ago, I reduced myself to a sturdy hobble by learning to jump rope. Never in my youth did I jump rope. Where I come from, males did not even consider it, except behind the walls of gymnasiums, and then only with the ultimate goal of pummeling an opponent in mind. But I’m a long way from youth now, and, having become convinced of rope-jumping’s merits as exercise, I strode boldly into a toy store, bought a candy-striped, red-and-wheat-colored rope, and went home to use it.