The cold metal handle brushes against my sandpapered chin. Sweat coats me like a warm summer rain. The weight pulls me toward the ground. The drumming of life fades and focuses into the center of the orb I hold. Sixteen times I must lower to my knees and stand. I lock my bellybutton into my spine. I tuck my shoulder blades into my back pockets and I lower my heavy body down. I think about all of the things in life that are heavy burden. 3, 4. I consider how relaxing it would be to quit. 5, 6. I pause and drop the kettle bell on the floor. The rubber floor welcomes the hit with a muffled thud. “I drink your sweat, and I devour you QUIT,” it mocks me in silence. The floor is failure, I pull myself up and away from it. I realize that I am here, in this moment, right now, and I only need to lower one knee at a time. Then stand up, one knee at a time. I hold the weight close to my chin. I place everything I am battling in life inside it. Lost promotions, the hopes and fears of graduating with a 4 year degree at 42, my failures, my family… I load it all in. Keep moving. 7, 8. My body begs me to quit. I think of the moments of the 4th quarter, the moment when losers falter and winners finish. 9, 10. Six more. I think about all those times I should have been writing, and I sat the heavy weight down and stopped counting. I let that dark floor swallow me whole. The world left silent and without my fingers dancing, telling the tale the hungry reader craves. I take a deep breath, my shirt is stuck to my chest. Kneel, breathe, stand. 11. What if I took the finishing energy I have now, and study for that final. Finish! What if I made myself sit and write, in pursuit of 1,000 rejections. No! 1,000 attempts. 12. I can see daylight. I am fully inside of the moment of quit, I see the finish line. My body hurts. My weight falls from my chin, I pull it back. Belly button my the spine. Shoulder blades in my back pockets. Back tall and strong. Down! Up! 13. Sweat takes flight as my hot breath grabs it. Back down, come on. Everything worth having in life is like this, DON’T QUIT. Down! Up! 14. My butt aches, my knees hurt, but I find strength in the reps lying in my wake. Down! Uhh uhhp! 15. Finish it… FINISH IT! My arms are burning. My head is throbbing. Am I going to feed my dreams or feed the floor? My inner voice is yelling, “QUIT! STOP! ENOUGH!” I take a deep breath, and close my eyes, and in that moment, I make that metal float.
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Copyright © 2019 Zachary W. Gilbert