The stench of Dick Janssen’s workout funk didn’t bother her at all. Gina was new in town and sorta desperate. The prospect of a hot date with Dick after last month’s exhausting coast to coast drive to finally settle in a new city meant she was ready to make new friends and finally put the past behind her.
This man was a smooth talker – smoother than those honey dipped silken kisses Gina dreamed of getting from a sexy-ish man like Dick. With her free, 2-week gym pass about to expire, Dick not only convinced her to buy a membership she couldn’t afford, he also somehow persuaded her to buy him an ice cold water bottle and his favorite snack bar out the vending machine. In Gina’s mind everything was off to great start. A man was paying her some attention again. And he was kinda cute.
“This guy really likes me,” she whispered to herself as she headed out the gym.
Their date was set for 7pm tonight and there was planning to do. This special occasion called for a brand new outfit. Gina checked online with fingers crossed in hopes that her credit card wasn’t maxed out again. It wasn’t enough for a shopping trip to H&M, so she settled on Walmart.
Current Balance: $9,968
Available Balance: $32
Gina arrived on the Walmart scene, weaving in and out of the customers, right past the most fashionable chick in the house, to bolt to the clearance racks. Outfit accomplished!
A Hot Date Is Brewing
There was a knock at the door at 7:30pm. Dick was late, but it was still terrible timing. Gina was stuck in the bathroom thanks to an all too enticing Taco Bell experience on the ride home from Walmart. By the time she exited the bathroom, Dick was on his way back to his car, but Gina whipped out her treadmilling skills and bolted out the door into the parking lot. She didn’t let Dick get away.
He reached out to rub her shoulder and leaned to kiss her cheek. “Hey, Gina. You’re lookin’ good, baby.”
Gina smiled. She couldn’t remember the last time someone told her she looked good, and that kiss sent a tingle down her spine. But her delight faded fast into a face full of confusion.
“Ohhh, I see you’re still in your gym clothes from earlier?” Although there was no doubt of his attire, Gina couldn’t help but to ask the question.
“Yeah, I decided to keep it casual,” Dick said in a defensive tone. His fresh, post-workout funk from hours ago was now extra rancid. The smell slightly reminded Gina of the stench from that dead rat inside the wall of her old New York City apartment. And to enhance this situation, the parking lot lights shined perfectly to reveal the yellow armpits stains on Dick’s white tee.
“Listen, Dick. I’m not feeling too well and I’m gonna stay home tonight.”
“Well how about I come in and nurse you back to health?” he forcibly suggested. Dick grabbed her hand and walked towards her apartment, but Gina already decided she didn’t want anything Dick had to offer. All should could think about was that pricey gym membership he duped her into buying and the vending food she bought him with the last change in her pocket. Gina stopped in her tracks and yanked her hand out from his.
“Sorry, Dick. I’m in for the night. I’ll catch up with you later.”
Up All Night
Now back in her apartment, alone, cuddled up her in favorite blanket and sobbing tears way past midnight, Gina wondered how she had sunk so low. Where has she gone wrong? Back in her teens, she supposed. Her choice in men and what she would tolerate from them proved to be a repeated fail. Gina had started working hard on her fitness long before her divorce back East, but her accomplishments of “slim and fit” as the solution to somehow lift herself out of low self esteem and make up for her mistakes and pain from the past was just not working.
In that moment, with her blanket almost entirely over her head and with a face soaked with tears, Gina had a revelation: her outer beauty would never heal her inner wounds and struggles.