The pot had boiled over.
That's what my husband calls it, anyway, as whatever has been simmering all day in my thoughts comes out in a blast of hot words and scalding tones when we sit down to dinner.
It's not about him. It's not about anyone, really. I'm just a geyser of stress that erupts in moments of silence.
A filling of voids with angst and upheavals.
Anything can set me off. The internet. The elections. Orthodonture. Doctors appointments. Television news. Did I mention the internet? There wasn't a single thing I could pin down and do that would be constructive. There wasn't one outcome I could change from wanting change.
“I think you need to go to the gym, or out for a run,” he'll advise cautiously, aware that patronage at any point in this delicate endeavor could work against us. The pushing of any pseudoscience in my direction has to be incremental.
It has to be my idea …
Which, unspoken to anyone else, it had been. But I had gone out the night before. And the night before that. Three days in a row seemed selfish.
It was before six and he was already in pajamas, wine poured generously into a glass. I didn't need to ask about his day. “It's fine. Just go.”
And so I go.
Out the door and up the street. One foot follows the other.
I feel stiff and slow. As if my legs have been replaced by chopsticks. They don't feel as if they bend at the knees.
The wind is wicked. It claws at me with little bits of sand it kicks up in its gusts.
I put my head down and continue. I focus on taking small steps. More power, less effort.
They say it helps to exercise. But I don't know.
I'm not sure I feel better, exactly. I just feel different.
Reassuringly different. Explainably different: I can think of THIS pain as from running. THAT pain is from sit-ups. The heat you feel in your face is from raising your heart rate, not peri-menopause.
Just take deep, calming breaths.
The hardening of soft muscles is a bonus I don't wish to talk about. As if to admit pleasure in this area would diminish its value or add to my vanity.
Not to mention the conflict my thoughts tend to wage with each other over exercise.
“Don't step on the scale …. it's not about that.”
Step on the scale … be disappointed.
Look in the mirror … it's still the same me.
The pot is still there.
“It wasn't about losing weight. It was about all the other benefits. … the longer life. The mental health. The better sleep.”
I have choice words for that angel in my head, but I'll refrain from saying them. “Think positive,” would be her response, anyway.
My husband will tell you I sleep better. That I'm less liable to boil over at the slightest increase in temperature, but I still wake up at night, worrying about the things I can't control.
But I'll just go for a run.