Shay and I are in good spirits when our workout ends. We’re hot, sweaty and smiling. In between the bench presses, leg lifts, butterfly curls, crunches, sit-ups, and chin-ups, there was the usual ribbing, joking and talking about family. It felt great to hang out for a couple of hours and not think about my problems.
I check my watch as we stroll into the locker room. 1:26, the place is empty. It’s the calm before the storm. After three this place turns into a social club the equal of any on the Sunset Strip. The Snobber Moms and the Golddiggers storm the place looking to mack the actor wanna-bes, producers, and professional jocks who come here for their afternoon workouts. We should be able to grab a shower and get out of here before two.
I pop my locker open and unzip my bag. I pull out my flip-flops, and store brand bodywash. The sliver of green glop in the bodywash bottle doesn’t even drip down to the cap when I turn it upside down. I don’t think I’m going to get past lather and rinse today.
I hear Shay grunting. I turn around and the naked woman hands me a new bar of soap in the box. Wow. Dove. The last time I was able to buy this brand was five years ago.
“Thanks” I reply.
“Beats trying to stare that trickle of soap down to the bottom of the bottle.” Shay quips.
“I’m going to pay you back.”
“Just get me out of here by two and we’ll call it even.”
I check my watch. 1:28, enough time to lather and rinse. Still have a two-minute window if I have to repeat. I quickly peel out of my stale gym clothes and step into my flip-flops. We stroll over to the showers, wash off the morning’s sweat and towel off. I check my watch again as we change into street clothes. At 1:54. Shay smiles at me as she zips up her skinny blue jeans and tucks in her fitted red blouse. She’ll be right on time to pick up Thomas from Daycare.
I sling my gym bag over my shoulder and we head out of the gym out to the parking lot. Shay reaches into her purse as we pause in front of our cars. She counts off three one hundred dollar bills and smiles at me. I frown at the money. I thought we discussed this.
“Put your money away.” I plead.
“Girl take this money.” Shay insists. “We go through this every week-”
“Shay you know I’m not certified-”
“Look, I’d have to pay a trainer twice as much to get a body this foine.” Shay says posing for me. “You are worth every penny.”
Okay, I’ll take the money. This time. I really could use it to put a down payment on this month’s maintenance fee on my condo. And maybe a slice of pizza. But she has bills too. Shay might make six figures from her books and teaching classes at Stanford, but she can’t keep taking money away Terrence and Thomas to help me out.
“Are you sure?” I ask.
Shay gives me a look. “I’d rather watch you spend it on groceries than watch Terrence spend it on Playstation.”
I stuff the money in my front jeans pocket and smile. Since she puts it like that I don’t mind.
“I’ll see you Friday.” Shay laughs.
Shay gets into her SUV and I get into my convertible. We drive out of the lot and head in different directions. She heads uptown to the Day care, I head back cross-town eager to get home to learn the details about the six-figure job Ava wants to book.