Tarrion was annoyed and struggling with his yoga mat as he walked up to the Sattva Yoga Center in Escondido. It kept on unraveling which was probably due to the fact that it was brand new, and he had no idea how to hold it so he looked like all of the other yoga students walking to the building. Look at them, he thought, already so calm and grounded with nice, tame mats under their arms.
The mat was perfect in the packaging, but he had to take it out. What would everyone think if he showed up with a new mat, obvious that he never did this before? Also, they would probably hate him for buying a mat that was shipped in plastic. These people looked like the type who loved the earth.
The building had a feeling of home inside with dim lighting from a modest chandelier, a wooden staircase off to the side, and inviting chairs and pillows in the front room. It was colorful but the colors seemed muted basically telling everyone to breath deep and speak softly, which is what everyone did.
Tarrion became aware of this when he went to check in and realized that his normal speaking voice sounded like yelling amongst a group of at least twenty people. He pointed out his name on the list, hoping that he would see Gwen's name there too.
"T?" a sweet voice cut through the crowd even with her matching the softness of everyone else. Tarrion would have known that voice amongst hundreds of people. It was as lovely as she was, with a kind beauty, just like her. "What are you doing here?"
"You said this was one of your favorite classes," Tarrion answered, "I thought I would try it."
"I thought you said that breathing and stretching sounded like a waste of time," Gwen pointed out.
"It's important to you, so therefore, not a waste of time."
Gwen was confused by his answer, "You don't have to worry about what is important to me anymore. I made that clear when I moved out."
"Yes, well, I did want to talk to you about that too," Tarrion took a beat and held Gwen's gaze, "I think you made a mistake."
Gwen laughed so heartily that people nearby spun to look at her. Gwen maintained her soft voice again with a touch of annoyance, "I made a mistake? What reason was there to stay? I was background. An accessory, like a stylish watch or comfy pillows. You stopped trying to know me. I was talking to air when I shared my feelings. I..." Gwen stopped herself, "I go to yoga to find my center. This is leading me away from my center so I'm going to set up my mat."
"Gwen, wait," she continued walking and Tarrion stressed, “Please.”
Gwen paused. Tarrion looked different that night, from the moment she saw him but she could not name the emotion. As she looked at him now, she thought she could see regret. "What, T?"
"The fact that I irritate you this much now proves that you leaving was a mistake."
"Ha. What screwed up logic. I'm going to set up my mat," Gwen said.
Tarrion followed her and tried to make his voice carry without yelling as he pointed out, "That's your logic."
"You said that people who love each other feel the extreme emotions. People who don't care about each other are indifferent. They can't be bothered to argue," Tarrion stressed.
"You remember that?" Gwen was touched but she had to stick to the reason she left, “Are you telling me that you love me?”
“I think you’d agree that we’ve loved each other for awhile,” he noted.
Gwen shook her head, “What? You make this small gesture now and everything is supposed to be better. You’re right, I love you. And I need to love myself enough to make sure I’m appreciated. I get that not having me around is uncomfortable for you, but nurturing needs to go both ways.”
Gwen walked into an adjoining room and set her mat down.
You didn’t think it would be as easy showing up to her yoga class, Tarrion thought to himself and continued with his plan. He placed his mat down next to Gwen’s. Or at least he tried to place it down. The edges kept rolling back up. He looked at everyone else’s mat, perfect. He started to stomp on the edges while saying, “Why do you hate me so much? I promise I’m not going to just use you for today.”
“Stop making a ruckus and just put your mat down,” Gwen commanded.
“I can’t. It wants to see me fail.”
Gwen stifled her laugh while Tarrion hoped that noise meant he was wearing her down. She stood up and looked at him like an impertinent child. She flipped over his mat and smoothed it out. “There, now behave.”
Now Tarrion stifled a laugh as he promised, “Yes ma’am.”
Gwen scowled as she went back to her mat.
Tarrion was determined to make this work as the class started. He immediately started to realize that this was so much more than stretching and breathing. Warrior pose sounded cool and both of his feet were on the floor, so why did he feel like he wanted to tip over. After that, tree pose didn’t even seem possible. Anything that required him to bend over or pull his knees to his chest made him cringe as he realized that he wanted to make some truly unattractive noises. Tarrion thought his struggle was silent but apparently he was grunting continuously.
“What’s the matter?” Gwen begged.
“Nothing. I’m trying.”
“Trying to get everyone’s attention?”
“Trying to show you that I am willing to do better,” Tarrion declared.
Gwen sighed as she saw him making a genuine effort. She gestured to the instructor that they would be back. Then Gwen held Tarrion’s hand to lead him to the front room where the meditation pillows were.
“Sit with me,” her voice was compassionate, “This was a sweet gesture and if our future was us learning about each other and trying each other's passions, I would be thrilled.”
“Then be thrilled and come home with me tonight.”
Gwen laughed, whole-heartedly and Tarrion wanted to make her laughter his morning alarm. How stupid was he to try to spend even one day without that laugh.
“We’ve done so many of the things you like but when it is stuff like this, I’ve always had to do them on my own because they don’t interest you. Tonight was great but do you really think that you want more nights like this?” she asked.
“If they’re with you, yes. I should have given these things a chance. I do listen. I know so much more about you than you realize, like these classes are more than just breathing and stretching to you. These classes are your way to know your inner self. I should have shared how much I love your desire to learn and grow. I should have told you how much I love you,” he held her hands, pleading for another chance.
“What if you get bored again?”
“You’ll remind me what’s important again,” he answered.
“And what if…” Gwen’s question was cut short as she felt his hands cup her face and he kissed her. He pulled away and she saw him waiting for her response. Kissing was never a problem. He always knew how to kiss her.
“We would need to start over again,” Gwen shared.
Tarrion looked at Gwen with sincerity, “Whatever way helps us get closer, I’m there.”
“We start by finishing this class.”
“You’ll help me if I can’t walk later?”
Gwen thought for a moment, “Hmm.”
Tarrion put his hands on his heart, miming that he was hurt.
Gwen laughed, “One step at a time, T.”
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