Subject to Change.
I was going back to yoga.
And it wasn’t even some sideways ploy to put myself in Astrid’s space, especially since I’d done a remarkable job of not running into her, not hearing her name, not seeing her, for coming on two weeks. Just when I was thinking I was getting past whatever affliction it was she’d worked on me, I woke up the morning after a particularly hard workout feeling like my joints were superglued in place, and my muscles were stiff as boards.
Hot shower didn’t help. Foam roller didn’t help. Trying to stretch helped a bit, but ultimately only made me feel like I needed something deeper.
So… I decided to hit yoga, remembering how loose and agile I’d felt after just those few sessions. I dressed to work out, then packed my gym bag and headed out, arriving at the studio just about mid-morning. When I stepped in, I was struck by how quiet it was, but I could have sworn this was the same time Kim had given me for her second morning class.
But I didn’t see Kim, or anybody else. Faintly, I did hear music, which led me down a hall. As I got closer, I recognized Jhene Aiko’s Living Room Flow, growing louder and louder as I approached a certain door.
The classes I’d done here before had an eclectic soundtrack, so the sensual subject matter of the song didn’t throw me off. I figured since I was here, I would just slip in on whatever class was going on. But when I opened that door – that I had no business opening, I quickly realized – there was no class.
It was just Astrid.
In tiny blue boy shorts, and a tank top that was hiked up over her midriff. She was balanced on her hands, but with one leg extended behind her, and the other in front, in what was essentially a split. She’d had her eyes closed as I eased the door open, but when it closed behind me after I fully stepped in – why the hell had I stepped in? – she opened them, and then returned her feet to the floor, in some kind of half-cartwheel motion.
“What are you doing? How did you get in here?” she asked, raising her voice over the music.
I shrugged. “I… the front door was open. I was just coming for Kim’s class, and didn’t see anybody. I followed the music.”
“Oh.” She crossed her arms, which brought my eyes to her chest. There was no bra under that tank, if the prominence of her nipples was any indication. “It’s Tuesday. Kim only does classes Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays.”
“Shit.” I shook my head. “My bad. I wasn’t even thinking about that. Was just trying to get some relief in. But uh… you should have the door locked if nobody is here except you. I could have been just anybody walking in here.”
She scoffed. “You are just anybody walking in here,” she corrected. “And… I usually do have the door locked on Tuesdays. It’s been a crazy day. Must have slipped my mind.”
Now that I really thought about it… she did seem a little off today. Not as… sunshiney as usually.
“Yeah, well… I’m just saying. It’s not the safest thing in the world.”
“And I said I meant to lock the damn door, didn’t I? I’ve got this.”
I raised an eyebrow. “You’re right. You got it. I’ll come back for Kim tomorrow.” I turned to leave, and was reaching for the door handle when she spoke again.
“You must’ve have really needed to get a session in, huh? You didn’t even bother to check the time before you came down here. And you interrupted my practice, by the way.”
I let out a dry laugh. “You know… I’m sorry, okay? I’m sore, and stiff, and I was trying to get a good stretch or something in. That’s it. I didn’t mean to throw you off.”
“Sure. Any other time, you’d love to have bothered me, to have been rude, or gotten under my skin, but I’m supposed to believe your apology? You could’ve kept it.”
Again, my eyebrows shot up. “Did your weekly supply of zen get lost in the mail or something? Let me get my ass out of here, and out of your way, since you’re obviously not on your peaceful shit today.”
“You don’t do yoga because you’re hurting,” she said, once I’d turned around, causing another hesitation. “It’s not supposed to be a response to aching, or infirmity. It’s for strength, and flexibility, and peace of mind. Doing it while you’re in pain can make it worse, if you’re not careful.”
I turned back to face her. “I didn’t know that.”
I laughed, and shook my head. “Okay… since you know so much… what do you suggest instead?”
“Massage,” she said simply.
I nodded. “Okay… you have a suggestion for a spot, or…?”
She shrugged. “Right here. Grab a mat.”
“Excuse me?” I asked, confused, as she started past me, to the door. “Grab a mat?”
“I’m a licensed massage therapist, so, yes. Grab your mat, and take off everything but your shorts… or the shorts too, if you want.” She said that like it was nothing, and grabbed the doorknob to open it.
“Where are you going?” I asked, and she gave me a look like I was stupid.
“Duh. To lock the door.”