Every so often, whenever we crossed paths on the gym floor, a young man, like many other young and old gym goers, would nod at me. The universal sign of acknowledgment of regular gym-goers—a quarter-second eye contact followed with a nod. Sometimes a fist bump and at other times a quick conversation.
I don’t know their names, they don’t know my name, but all of us reorganize each other’s pain. It is not easy to keep on going to the same gym, surrounded by the same machines and weights and keep on doing almost the same routines, week after week for years.
This is my fourth year at my present gym. Managers and salespeople have come and gone, janitors have changed guard, yoga instructors have got younger. Every year in January, many new people join, but by midyear, they thin out. Every Monday evening the gym is filled to its capacity, but by Thursday evening it is more relaxed.
But no matter what, there are some regulars who are always there. Seeing them is a sign of relief. I feel as though I am not alone. As though, I am not the only crazy one working-out on a Friday evening, because I need to meet my required number of gym-days.
I never wondered about their lives beyond the gym. Until now.
One day, one of the regulars told me that one of the guys from the gym was murdered, shot dead in front of his home. I didn’t understand him. Murdered, where? In the gym? Who? He said, “You know him, you both have worked on the same machine.”
I later learned from the small posters in the locker rooms and the news that a 28-year-old man was stabbed to death outside his home. (10 minutes from my home.) It was a case of mistaken identity.
I am surprised that this disturbed me. This was strange. Like many other crime victims, I didn’t know him. But it bothered me. It nagged me enough that I check his GoFundMe page. I enlarged his family picture to find him in my memory.
It took me some time to place him. We all look so different in our professional attires compared to our gym getup. I forget that everyone has a personal and professional life beyond the gym. That all are mothers and fathers and husbands and wives and daughters and sons.
I kind of recall him. For me, at that time, he was one of many young men who exercised in the same gym as me and who nodded at me. But now, I see him as someone whose life was cut short, way-way before his time. I feel strangely affected by his death. I am not able to identify my feelings. Probably, in time I will, but right now, I am accepting not understanding.
I hope that you, if possible, donate to his page.
And remember that life is so very precious.