I expected ribbed horns curving viciously. Unfathomable inky pools rimmed in bloody red flesh, dark orbs that pierced through my soul. Fingernails like talons. A spaded tail snaking its way around unseen feet. A towering figure wrapped in deathly black robes and smoldering flames.
I was wrong.
The devil is short and blonde. And if she makes me do one more ab-whittling set I am going bounce this Bosu off her perky ponytail.
Or I would, if I wasn’t fighting the collective urge of my abdominal musculature to seize in sweaty agony.
Four years ago, I did not need a personal trainer. I had a husband. Who was perfectly fit and who cooked obscenely healthy meals so that we could then blissfully relax over crème de menthe drizzled bowls of ice cream and wedges of Brie. I wasn’t perfect, but I was perfectly happy with what I was. You could almost argue that it was a match made in health and fitness heaven.
(Actually, you could. We met at a gym.)
His hours of cycling and lifting bliss were matched by the miles of solitude in my running shoes, gifts of time we gave to each other that were as important and cherished as notes on the mirror and moments in the dark. As the years passed and our lives grew fuller we held sacred to those gifts and found a new gift in the miles we spent running silently side by side while two tiny heads rested on each other, lulled to sleep as wheels turned and the rhythm of our footsteps tread quietly into the night.
In the wreckage I lost my running shoes and my calm, gifts that he gave me each day and that vanished with him. Trapped in the house I craved an escape, only to struggle for air in the night in rare moments of silent fury interrupted by sirens racing by. And over time I listened as his footsteps faded and I ran to survive, and then to live.
But as my footsteps regained their stride and I once again disappeared into the dark night, something had changed.
The voice that challenged me to seek more was gone, and in its place the voice inside me wondered what more could be found. I ran into the raging silence of Dante’s inferno, seeking more and daring the fates and testing my limits and my strengths. And as I run into the dark with blind faith, this I know.
Hell hath no fury like my abs.