“So are you celebrating Valentine’s Day or are you not a believer?” asked Naomi with a somewhat smirky smile. I sat down on the bench and smirked back “You mean emotional extortion day?” Naomi laughed as she slid a weight onto the end of the barbell.
“So you’re not a believer then!” she said as the weight clanked into position…
“No I suppose I’m not… mostly because it’s silly to single out a day just to sell cards and flowers”
“So you are a romantic – I knew it!” Naomi quipped.
“Yea, I can do romantic but Valentine’s Day seems superfluous” I grabbed the barbell and lowered the weight down to my chest.
Naomi walked around the barbell; “Well, I’ve never gotten a romantic Valentine card… I mean, I have gotten cards and flowers before” she said as she moved in to spot me. Grimacing I started to press the weight up. “…it’s just that they were from weirdos”
Suddenly, I lost my concentration and started laughing about the weirdos; entirely at Naomi’s expense I might add. The barbell instantly came back down on my buckling arms, impacting my chest abruptly; knocking most of the wind out of my har de har har. I laid there spitting up muffled little chucklets of laughter, while my eyes bugged out; the veins in my neck were popping out hard enough to bounce a quarter off. Naomi quickly grabbed the barbell and helped me get it back up on the rack; she too was laughing and she quickly apologized for not spotting me close enough.
“No, I’m sorry for laughing but you’re young; you’ve got time to find a guy who will treat you right… and he won’t need a silly holiday for the hint. He’ll do it because he wants to.” I grunted as I attempted to lift the weights back down to my chest again. She kept her hands on the barbell as a precaution and then asked…
“So how long have you and your wife been married?”
Again, Naomi’s timing was perfect; catching me midway in my bench press… “Comon, you should know this” she smirked… I put the weight on the rack and asked “What year is this?”. A very shallow and obvious attempt at stalling… she snipped “You seem to have lost count of your reps too cuz you’re not done yet”. I pretended not to notice her comment and continued… “2017, would beee coming up on… 38 years”
Naomi’s eyes got wider… “Really? How old were you when you met?”
“Umm, Suzanne was 15 and I had just turned 17.”
“That’s just incredible” she said.
She motioned for me to continue my bench press as I asked “You mean to tell me you haven’t had a nice young man give you flowers?”
“Well my last boyfriend gave me a card the first year we were together but he stopped doing that kind of thing after a while.”
I continued to do my reps as I grunted advice; it wasn’t pretty and I should have known better but I kept on blabbing… “That’s the thing right there Naomie.. [Ughhh]. We should do these things because we want to. [Ughhh], Not because we think we have to; [Ughh] especially because it’s some commercialized date”
Now I was barely able to press the weight; I realized my arms were shaking like a California quake… “Wait, how many reps have I done?”
“You passed 10 of them a little bit ago”
“Why didn’t you stop me?” I protested, as I slid the weights back onto the rack.
Naomie smiled… “You seemed like you were doing it because you wanted too”
She chuckled a bit and then, turned and started walking… “Follow me. We’re going to do some core” She lead me over to the mats and grabbed a small medicine ball for me to do stomach crunches as I tossed the ball to her and she tossed it back.
As the ball knocked me backwards into the mat she asked “So what are you going to do today since you’re all emotionally extorted and stuff?”
I grimaced as I sat up and tossed the ball back to her… “I don’t know – probably get some flowers and take my wife to dinner”
“You are a romantic”
“I’m not stupid either” I said as I tossed the ball a bit briskly back to her.
She caught it and the gave me a look as she announced… “Alright, screw the ball”
Suddenly I was faced with a dilemma. I could have just replied “Ok” and then got up and listened to what’s next quietly. That’s not what I did. Before I knew it I replied wistfully… “Well I don’t know what to say.”
Now my timing was perfect. Naomie, was on the floor in a planking position, about to demonstrate a perfectly good planking torture for me to try. I said “I can’t remember the last time a nice young lady has suggested something like that to me on Valentine’s Day”. Suddenly she was trying not to laugh, but her arms gave out and the laughter came; and she turned beet red in the process.
“I’m sorry” I said, as she laughed face first into the carpet.
Naomie’s answer was muffled… “You’re fine, you’re good… I just need a moment”.
Naomie made me do so many of those one handed, one legged, planking things (I’m sure there is some evil spell required to actually do them right) that I could hardly hold on to the flowers at the check stand that evening.