For months it mocked me, standing grey and tall and long in the den. Last fall I climbed upon it and exercised furiously, determined to make myself more fit.
Instead I hurt myself. Something slipped, a joint losing its place, a contest lost before the work ever really began.
Now, almost six months later, I defy its mockery and climb aboard. This time I pace myself. I need to; I tire quickly after months of sedentary living and sacroiliac healing.
I watch CNN between the bars of the elliptical as I rise and fall on the pedals: images of a bus on its side flash past, of a school in pieces, of people with broken hearts.
Thirteen minutes in, I feel the old strain and slow down. I planned for twenty minutes, but I remember the past and stop at fifteen.
Stretching before felt good; stretching after feels necessary. I sink into the floor. The old man cat approaches, rubs his head against my outstretched hand and purrs.