Monday, July 15, 2013

Mr. Music

          Eight a.m. Saturday morning. Ultimate Fitness Center.
"Crazy," Roberta said, "but I think the guy across the room working with free weights is giving you the eye."
"Don't be silly," I said.  Drenched in sweat, I was doing ab crunches on my floor matt and didn't bother to look up. "He must be hitting on you."
"Me?" Roberta said. She'd just stop working out her thighs on one of the machines. "In my dreams, maybe. When I get below one-fifty."
I halted my crunches. I hopped up, started stretching, and tried to sneak a look at the man. A smile flashed across his face. I glanced behind me—surely someone else had caught his eye. But there was no one behind me. My heart skipped.
 "Told you," Roberta said. "Here he comes..."
Dressed in black shorts and a white T-shirt, he was tall, dark-haired, and unbelievably handsome. His stride was purposeful. His smile grew wider and my heart beat faster. "Lynn Daugherty!" he said, and thrust out his hand.
I recognized his voice—a deep, rich baritone. Trevor Jones—he sang the male leads in all the musicals in high school. I'd had a major crush on him, but he didn't know it. He was theater, speech, and music. I was basketball, volleyball, and track.
I threw my sweaty hand out. He grabbed it firmly, and we shook. "Not surprised to see you at a fitness center," he said, smiling.
I swallowed. I didn't know what to say. "It's been a long time," came out.
"Ten years, probably. You were the best athlete at Riverside High, male or female. What are you doing these days"—he smiled again, eyeing me in my black leotards and green top—"besides staying fit?"
I felt myself blushing. "Teaching PE at Riverside High."
Roberta's turn to smile: "See you guys," she said. "I'm headed for the shower."
Before I could beg with my eyes for her to stay, she spun on her heels and left me with the guy I admired in high school and would've given the world to date. I mean, as a little girl I loved music and dancing, but I grew up with four brothers—two younger, two older—all jocks—and I ended up being a jock, too. But I thought Trevor Jones was so cool—I thought of him as the Music Man.
"What's happening in your life?" I asked. "I thought you'd be in the movies. Or cutting records."
He shook his head. "Not quite that talented. But I ended up with a PhD in Fine Arts, and I'm back now as the head of the department at Blackhawk College."
Blackhawk was our local college. "Good for you!" I said. I'm not sure, but I think we glanced at each other's ringless left hand at the same time—and then we looked quickly way.
"You know what," he said. "I've got to tell you something. Something really important. Remarkable, even. I always wanted to play baseball. I was a big Cubs' fan—still am—but..." He went on to tell me that he was an only kid. His dad died when he was three, and his widowed mom played the organ and piano in church. By the time he was six, she had him singing in the choir; and by the time he was in junior high, she'd pointed him toward a musical career.
"It's great," I said, "that she took an interest and helped develop your talent."
He tunneled his hand through is dark hair. "But I wanted to be a baseball jock. The thing is I thought you were the coolest girl in school. A three-sport star. I can't tell you how much I admired you."
I felt myself blushing again—a deep pink, I was sure. I couldn't believe what he'd said. What really rocked me is that we'd both admired each other and hadn't even known it.
He sighed and said, "Now I'm trying to stay in shape. I spend most of my time these days behind a desk. Nice to see you again."
"You, too," I said, greatly disappointed that our chat had ended and I hadn’t found the courage to tell him how great a music man I thought he was.
Shaking my head, I trotted off to the locker room, where I found Roberta. She'd already showered and dressed and was leaving, but not before she asked, "Well? How'd it go? Is he single?"
"Yes... I mean, I think so."
"Did you guys exchange telephone numbers?"
"I wish."
Later, when I pushed through the big glass doors of the center to leave, still disappointed with myself, Trevor stood outside in the sunshine, leaning against a brick pillar, looking sheepish. "I hope I'm not being presumptuous," he said, "but are you...I mean..."
I knew what he was thinking. "Attached?"
He nodded.
"Me either," he said. "How about breakfast?"
I smiled. "I'd love breakfast."
Each toting a gym bag, we turned toward our cars in the lot, each of us smiling now. Our shoulders bumped. A warm tingle rippled though me.  "You know what," I said. "I've got something really important to tell you, too. Something quite remarkable, Mr. Music Man..."
The End
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