January 20, 2010

Carl paced across the kitchen, phone to his ear, coffee mug in his hand. A layer of new snow dusted the world outside.

“I know, Phil, but—okay, you ever heard of studded tires?” He punched the phone’s off button.

Audrey topped off his mug. “I’m guessing Phil can’t pick up the windows today,” she said.

“Three months, Audrey. They’re finally ready, but Phil got stuck in his own driveway, and my truck is in the shop.” He rubbed his stomach. “I think I’m hemorrhaging.”

Photo by Pam Wells ©2010

Twenty minutes later, Audrey parked in front of the gym. “Come on,” she said, her breath icing white. Carl grumbled himself out of the car.

Inside, Carl trailed Audrey down the hall past a sweaty weightlifter. They went into an open room with a large span of glass on the far wall. Audrey unrolled her mat on the hardwood floor. She got a blue one from the storage closet and laid it out next to hers.

The teacher, who had some years in his skin and lean, sinewy muscles, greeted the small class. “It seems the most faithful yogis drive all-terrain vehicles,” he said. Everybody laughed. Was yoga funny?

Carl tried to copy Audrey, but she was unnaturally bendy and well-balanced. He took heart as others in the class took turns falling out of their tree poses. Was yoga kidding?

Carl’s downward-facing dog attempt reminded him of the time he’d dropped his keys down the grate in the men’s bathroom at Union Station and he’d had to fold in half to see down in there, which reminded him what a great day it had been with Audrey and the boys taking the train from Portland to Seattle to see the Mariners whomp the bejeebees out of the Red Sox. Was yoga a little trippy?

“Relax your toes,” the teacher said. “Your ankles… the muscles of your legs….” They were lying on their backs in the corpse pose. Savasana. Still.

“Gently extend your right arm overhead—”

“Left,” Audrey whispered.

“But he said—”

Carl understood as he turned toward the window. Only he and Audrey breathed in the architecture of the sky. The cloud pose.

©2010 Pam Wells


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