Working out at the gym kept the blues at bay and my sanity intact. Relocating to Indonesia from Singapore, the gym has been my sanctuary from the world when it pushes me to the edge of lucidity. When I feel weighed down by the memories of the past and the empty present, I head to the gym. I signed up with a personal trainer because I was reaching a point when I was hemming and hawing over whether to work out or not. Like providence, Agus was at the gym and gave me a free trial. I felt buoyed after the work out albeit it had me walking stiffly and muttering “Ouch, ouch” every time I’d run up and down the school corridor the next day. We have been working out for 15 months now, four times a week.
There are times when I feel like quitting because the sessions are just too strenuous. It is as if my heart will explode from trying to catch my breath. The workout sessions are gruelling lasting between two hours and a half and three per session. But I persevere knowing that I’d rather endure physical pain, the burning in the muscles, than the pain in my heart. The mental anguish of being alienated, receiving a harshly worded iMessage, and unanswered calls left me reeling in a gamut of emotions that has left me feeling nothing. It has been almost two months since your unexpected radio silence. I look in the mirror and see sad eyes as an icy tightness weaves its way to my chest. I take a deep breath but the exhale is jagged.
Through the months, I have learnt to ride the pain (I channel my inner Bruce Lee) and block the heart-twisting thoughts of him from invading my thoughts. I focus on the breathing, the tension in my muscles, and listen to my inner voice that tells me when I should pause or continue. I love the result when I take a two-minute breather from the exercise variants: my mind is quiet for a few moments as I serenely sit at a corner of the gym.
I like those quiet moments so I do yoga on my non-gym days. I lead a group of my colleagues in a basic yoga routine to ease their aches and pains. The regimen eases the pain of my heart and soul and keeps me from going numb thoroughly. I do have to be mindful of the health of other people. Fortuitously, my breathing has become less jagged as a result of yoga and gym work.
Working out is slowly helping me adjust to the thought that what I had with him was a moment – a beautiful moment that took more than a decade to come to fruition – but I still hold a fervent wish in my heart that the universe would let him come back to me again some day.