Sweat drips from my hair. Sweat rolls down my forehead. Sweat covers my whole body. My arms turn into noodles as I push the bar forward and then back. Forward and back in a constant motion as if I am one with the machine. The machine is my one and only friend at the moment. We speak in code. He’ll say “Clink, clank, clink.” I’ll respond by moving my arms faster. Faster. Faster until the gym instructor yells “Cut that out!”
I take a break, but only for a minute. I look around and notice some burly guys on the human conveyor belt. Their facial expressions remind me of a toddler experimenting with food for the first time only to find that it tastes disgusting. To the left of me, I see an older man lifting a fifteen. He breathes a sigh of relief after he places it back to its original home. They look lonely–those sad hunks of metal. They are calling to me. “Moe, come on. Play with us!” I slowly glide towards the rack where the older man abandoned his fifteen and I gently pick up a ten. One, two, three, and so on. The lactic acid spreads like a wildfire in my biceps. But for some reason that pain feels good. It feels relaxing. The adrenaline rushes through my body. My heart pumps faster than a racehorse at the Kentucky Derby. It feels good. Really good.
At the end of the day, my arms are screaming. My legs feel as if they are going to fall off. My calves feel as if they were repeatedly dipped in scorching hot lava. My triceps turn into melted gum as I attempt to pick up my bag. Slowly, I walk out of that metal paradise filled with people who have the same passion as me. People who know in their souls that this tense feeling in our bodies is pure satisfaction. This pain feels good. Really good.