“Hey, what are you doing here?” It was said with genuine surprise as I walked out of my evening kickboxing class. Abby, my anorexic gym friend, was jogging on the treadmill nearest the door. I was surprised because I’d just seen her earlier that same day on the tail-end of a three-hour workout.
Her eyes narrowed as she shot back, “What are you doing here?” Because, of course, for me to have seen her this morning would mean I had also been at the gym earlier. And I was. Touche.
I blushed. “I come occassionally at night to do Jennie’s class. It’s just so fun – it reminds me why I love kickboxing.” Jennie is one of those rare instructors that is motivating in the extreme. Always positive, never boring and one heck of a workout – it’s what I look forward to all week. Even if it entails a double workout on one day.
She cocked an eyebrow at me, “Yeah, well, I’m just here walking with a friend.” I didn’t challenge her, despite the fact that she was obviously not walking and, last I checked, they don’t make treadmills for two.
“Okay, have a good night,” I mumbled. “See you tomorrow.” She nodded as I left.
The exchange made me think of Rebecca, since I last wrote about the two in the same post. I haven’t seen her since I visited her in the hospital. As agreed, I took her and her family dinner a couple of nights after she was released but when I arrived at the appointed time her home was dark and the phone went straight to the answering machine. Neither she nor her husband answered their cells. Finally, as my kids were freezing, I just left the food on her doorstep and hoped that they’d get it before the neighborhood squirrels did. (Our squirrels out here are agressive! I swear I’ve seen one hip-check a cat to get to a spilled box of Cheez-its.) I brought her her favorite meal: KFC’s original fried chicken, homemade cornbread, fruit salad & brownies.
I fully expected to talk to her the next day. Perhaps she’d ended up in the hospital longer with complications. Maybe one of the kids had an appointment. Maybe she had to make an emergency run for diapers and formula. Maybe… she was avoiding me. As the days passed without call or e-mail, I fretted. Was she offended I brought her fried chicken? It’s not exactly health food. Did the squirrels get the food and so she thought I never brought it over? (Maybe they ate the plates too…) Or perhaps she was embarrassed because I had seen her at her most vulnerable. Because now neither one of us can pretend any longer that I don’t know about her anorexia. Because suddenly our friendship feels unequal.
I feel it too. But I still miss her.