Some people could stretch and bend and turn their bodies into pretzels without breaking a sweat, and somehow still look elegant while doing it. Elodie wasn’t one of them. As she stood with her head not quite placed where it should be, and her hip definitely facing the wrong direction, she took in the room full of men and women swaying back and forth between poses that made no sense.
Yoga wasn’t made for her, that much she knew. Yoga had quite clearly been invented by sadists who looked good doing it as a method of torture for the uninitiated. In a last ditch attempt to reach full form, Elodie went crashing down shoulder first, letting out a screech of pain as she hit her yoga mat much harder than expected. Embarrassed, and suddenly the focus of everyone in the room, she brought her other hand to her face trying to stop the laughter that was bubbling under the surface.
“How are we doing over here?”
The instructor had swayed over from his spot at the head of the group, and sat softly down on the back of his feet. His smile was sweet, but Elodie wondered if he was really just hoping she’d give up already.
“Yeah,” she said, shaking her head. “About that…”
She saw the laughter behind his eyes, and he clearly couldn’t hold it in anymore as he let out a loud laugh that got them even more looks than the very unwomanlike screech she had let out earlier.
“I’m so sorry, I’m just not getting this. I’m so sorry for disturbing everyone.”
Elodie looked around the room, raising the arm that wasn’t throbbing with pain to give the group an apology by wave. The room was filled with about 30 people in colorful clothing, and she had a feeling that no-one had been able to top her inability to bend her body in any direction.
A small snort in the back of the room caught her attention, and she looked to see if she could find the source. All she found was people getting back to their posing, and a brunette who looked suspiciously flummoxed.
“How about you come back on Thursday, and maybe come in fifteen minutes early? I can help you nail some of the basics, if you’d like?”
Thomas, the instructor, had incredibly kind eyes, but Elodie couldn’t help but wonder if her absolute failure for the third time was a solid sign that yoga shouldn’t be attempted anymore. She smiled at him and sighed. “Sure, I’ll be here. Bring a mattress, maybe?”
Thomas chuckled, but got back up, apparently satisfied. Elodie, all tuckered out, lay down on her back and let out a long breath. Perhaps she should ignore her doctor’s advice. That always feels right.
The rest of the session went by smoothly after Elodie had given up. She spent the last 20 minutes trying to focus on what Thomas was actually getting people to do, but it was like Greek. Actually, Greek felt more welcoming than yoga at this point. She looked back towards the corner where the mysterious snort had come from, and Elodie was relieved to see that others were struggling too. The woman in dark green was desperately trying to get her shoulder under her thigh, and Elodie reveled in her struggle. She realized she was both staring and smiling as the woman turned her head and gave her a challenging eyebrow. Embarrassed to have been caught, Elodie resumed her favorite pose: the dead man.
Thomas’ loud voice rang for the last time as he gave out his namaste’s, and people smiled as they followed the line through the door. Some gave Elodie a sympathetic smile as they walked past her, but most ignored her. Her inner monologue was chastising herself for making a fool of herself. Shaking her head, she rolled up her mat and stumbled up on her feet, slightly off balance.
“How’s your shoulder? It looked like you caught your entire body on that poor thing.”
The woman who she’d caught quietly laughing at her was walking towards her, holding her mat over her chest. It was clear she still found the whole situation, but her eyes didn’t look unkind.
Sighing, Elodie shook her head with a smile.
“It’s fine, thanks,” she said as she stretched out her arm, taking in the stiffness. “My body doesn’t want to do yoga, so it stopped me from trying to force it.”
The woman laughed loudly this time, not attempting to hold it in. Elodie raised an eyebrow, surprised at the woman’s laughter.
“I’m sorry, I shouldn’t laugh. I was just relieved someone else fell over before I did. I’m so horrible at this. How are you supposed to bend like that? It’s humanly impossible!”
The brunette’s melodic laughter rolled through the room, and Elodie felt a little better about being the dips hit who took a tumble at yoga.
“I’m glad I could be of assistance. I never thought it would be so difficult.”
She chuckled, and looked up at the woman standing in front of her. She decided to be proactive, and reached out her hand to her.
“I’m Elodie. It’s nice to meet you, even if it meant I had to hurt myself for it.”
Accepting Elodie’s hand, poker oyna she cocked her head to the side, as if she were taking her in a little more than necessary.
“Elodie, huh? Not what I was expecting. I thought you’d be a Jane or a Mary, or something along those lines. I’m Anna.”
Anna shook Elodie’s hand, and shook her head at her own comments. “I’m sorry, was that rude?”
Elodie smiled, and shook her head. It wasn’t the first time she’d gotten that comment.
“It’s French, but I got my mother’s Scandinavian looks. Don’t worry.”
Elodie locked eyes with Anna again, but let her go quickly, realizing that she was staring. The pair were the last to leave, and as they got out on the busy road outside the studio, she turned to face her again.
“It was nice to meet you. I don’t know if I’m gonna keep this up, I can’t get into another injury prone sport. My mother would never forgive me.”
To prove her point, Elodie pulled up her three quarter length tights to show off a straight scar on her knee.
Anna grimaced. “Ouch, soccer?”
Nodding, Elodie pulled her pant leg down. “Yeah, nice catch. I did it when I was an undergrad. I managed to tear everything in there. Anyway, this was my third time trying to get this, but it’s clearly not working.”
“I hear rumors you have to keep at it for it to work. But I’m no expert.” Anna raised an eyebrow in challenge, and smiled cleverly at Elodie.
“Come back for one more, I need the entertainment. Or at the very least, we can commiserate in the back. I’m not used to being worst in the class.”
Elodie considered the brunette, but eventually nodded. “Fine,” she said, already regretting it. “But I’m not saying ohm anymore. It’s all bullshit, and you know it.”
Anna laughed, a rolling laughter that could charm anyone. That could spell trouble, Elodie realized.
For the first time in Elodie’s life she had become one of the people at the back of the classroom. She and Anna had connected immediately after Elodie’s infamous shoulder dive had interrupted the class. Every week, twice a week, the pair could be found in the back of the beginners class. This time, however, she was stretching by herself as Anna was an apparent no-show. Annoyed, she stretched and bent at the best of her ability. Thomas stopped by her mat more often than others, but he remained his calm and smiling self, gently attempting to guide her.
At the end, she mumbled her “namaste” in irritation, and gathered her things. Wrapped in her sweater she stepped out into the chilly evening air, and held onto her sides as she silently cursed herself for leaving her apartment without a jacket. She hurtled down the street looking down, but took in her surroundings as she turned to cross at the crossing. On the other side of the road she spotted the same green tights she’d gotten so used to, and with them Anna, looking solemn.
Elodie called for her as she got closer, and when they locked eyes, it was very obvious that Anna had been crying.
“Hey, what’s wrong?”
Anna shook her head, tears starting to fall freely. Elodie sat down and pulled her into a side hug, wildly confused.
“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I thought I was done crying.”
“God, what’s wrong? Are you okay? Are you hurt?”
Anna shook her head. Wiping her face, she tried to even her breath.
“I’ve had a horrible day at work. I’m sorry.”
She sighed loudly, her breath still uneven.
“I lost a patient. She wasn’t even a patient, I guess. I’ve treated her the past 18 months. And we discharged her two weeks ago. She was going to live. But instead, we get her into the ER after a drunk driver hit her family. They all died.”
Elodie was at a loss for words. She hadn’t expected that. She knew Anna worked at a hospital, but she hadn’t pushed for more information when Anna didn’t give it up voluntarily. As Anna put her head in her hands, Elodie whispered a quiet “I’m so sorry,” but she didn’t say much more. Shaking her head, Anna got up abruptly, and turned to Elodie with a determined look on her face.
“Do you want to get drunk?”
Anna: I’m just around the corner, I’ll pick up some alcohol on the way. Sorry for crying.
Anna: This is Anna btw. In case you had others cry on you today.
Elodie: You were one of many today, yes. Thanks for the clarification. How are you feeling?
Anna: Numb. But that’s oversharing. See you in a bit.
“I don’t know what I thought, but I have to admit I didn’t think you were a doctor.”
Anna responded with mock outrage, which made Elodie chuckle even more. Despite her day, drunk Anna was a joy to behold.
“I’m sorry, my feminist mother is turning in her grave. I mean, she’s not dead. But she is a feminist!”
Anna laughed out loud at this one. She smiled her soft smile, and shook her head.
“Thank you,” she said, sniffling softly, “I needed this.” She let out a big sigh, and leant back into the sofa. Elodie sat canlı poker oyna cross-legged across from her in the big chair she had forced her father to transport through a few too many states over the years.
Anna looked up at Elodie, her eyes a little unfocused.
“Do you want to talk about it more? Or do you want to change the subject completely? Either or, I’m here for it.”
Anna smiled, but her smile faded into sadness.
“I think I want to be distracted. Tell me about your life?”
Elodie nodded. She had no idea how to deal with that kind of loss, and had asked for that exact reason.
“Well, I live here,” she said, gesturing to the apartment. “By myself. I had a cat, but my aunt kind of adopted her after my accident last year.”
“You had an accident?”
Realizing that she was about to head into the same territory, she briefly considered if she should change the subject. Anna looked so expectant, so Elodie continued.
“Yeah, I was hit by a drunk driver. Too, I guess. Broke my back in a few places, but I got away from it all with relatively minor injuries. That’s actually why I’m trying to do yoga. Want to see my scars?”
Anna shook her head in confusement, trying to take in what she had just said.
“So you broke your back?”
Elodie nodded, as she pulled up her shirt to show Anna the scars that dotted her back.
“I’m sorry, I have a thing for scars. And bruises, too. I love it.”
Anna chuckled, realizing that the woman in front of her was actually showing off her scars, not just showing them to her. “You are an odd one, aren’t you?” She said, laughing.
“I am. But I am dead serious. If you’re ever in a situation where you have an epic bruise, and you can take a photo, it is your duty as my newest friend to take a picture of it and send it to me. Alright?”
Anna was now full on laughing.
“I’ll do my best. Considering how illegal it is. But I’ll try.”
“So you’ve been in Boston for four years now?”
Anna nodded, opening another bottle of wine. She had been in Elodie’s apartment a total of three hours, but she was making herself completely at home.
“Yeah, I came up here straight from med school. I went to NYU for pre-med, and then Columbia for med school, and considering my parents still live in upstate New York, it made sense for me to stay on the East Coast, and I was really lucky to be matched at St Patrick’s.”
Shaking her head as she sat down, she poured more wine into Elodie’s glass. She’d descended on to the floor, and was now leaning on the table, taking in Anna.
“No, my parents couldn’t have any more. I think that was my mother’s greatest sorrow in life, she poured herself into the church as I got older and showed less interest in their lives. I always felt a little bad for that.”
Elodie shrugged her shoulders and sipped her wine. “I suppose,” she began, looking into the room, “Parents, man, they’re the best thing to happen to you, until they manage to guilt you for not having siblings. That they couldn’t produce. I am also an only child…”
Anna’s eyebrow went up in recognition, and she lifted her glass in a sort of salute to only children.
“So what did your parents do, other than church?”
Anna chuckled. “Nothing. That’s all they did.”
In confusion, Elodie cocked her head to the side.
“Oh, my father was a pastor. My mother was the head of the Sunday school. Up until the age of 14 my every waking moment was spent at church. We ate, slept and breathed church.”
Something about that made sense to Elodie. She couldn’t quite put her finger on what it was, but something about having spent every waking moment at church for all those years made Anna make absolute sense to her. She hadn’t known Anna for a long time, but it just clicked something into place for her.
“What, does it seem strange to you?”
Elodie shook her head softly, not quite sure if honesty was the right way to go.
“No, it’s just very different from what I grew up with, I guess. My parents were agnostic at best. My dad is French, which means he has a very relaxed relationship to religion. My mother grew up on the here on the East coast, and her family never forced religion on her.”
Anna looked a little annoyed, and she shifted uncomfortably in her seat.
“I wasn’t forced into it. I’m still religious. But I’ve just managed to incorporate it into my life, I suppose.”
Elodie reached across the table she had leant on throughout the conversation, and touched Anna’s arm.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to offend. I guess religion is one of those things that seem so strange to someone on the outside, and so innately natural to someone on the inside.”
“I suppose,” Anna said begrudgingly.
“So you’re still religious?”
Anna took a second, which made Elodie regret her question.
“I’m sorry, that was incredibly personal. You don’t have to answer that.” internet casino
Shaking her head, Anna tried to appease the blonde. “No, it’s fine. You’re allowed to ask.”
Anna took a breath, seemingly to steady herself. “I suppose I am. I haven’t completely given up on my faith, even though I don’t go to church every week. My father instilled this feeling in me from childhood, this sense of belonging in a church.”
“You seem doubtful. Or maybe not doubtful, but…”
“No, I suppose doubtful is the right word. I haven’t lost my faith, I’ve just discovered that the church’s doctrine on certain things isn’t as black and white as it seemed when I was young.
“Such as abortion.”
Elodie chuckled, causing Anna to look up.
“What’s with the chuckle?”, she said uncertainly.
“Oh, nothing. I just didn’t expect you to say abortion, of all things. It’s a something of a controversial topic, isn’t it?”
Anna smiled, and nodded. She couldn’t help but think of all the conversations turned arguments she’d had with her father over the years.
“So when did you change your mind on abortion?”
With hesitation, Anna chewed up the courage to jump into this discussion, yet again. It always shook her to the core, never quite certain she had made the right choice on the matter.
“It was around my third year of medical school, actually. Until then I had a theoretical, a medical, and a religious understanding of what abortion entailed. I understood that some women needed abortions for medical reasons. I could understand that, perhaps even accept it. But I could never get my head around the morality behind it. You’ve got to understand, I grew up in a fairly conservative congregation who would regularly preach the tragedy of abortion, and how it ruined society. The first time I understood that abortion wasn’t only a result of poor choices and godlessness, was when I first encountered a twelve year-old who’d gotten pregnant by after being raped by her step father, who died due to complications because she had been too scared to go to the hospital. It wasn’t just the childbirth that killed her, but I couldn’t wrap my head around a young kid deserving to die because she’d fallen victim for her predatory stepfather. From there I met people in situations that left no room for a child, even with the best intentions.”
“So you allowed people and their circumstances to change your opinion? That’s pretty brave, you know.”
Anna sighed. She still struggled with it, even though abortion was so commonplace for so many people her age.
“Yeah, I suppose. I have to be honest though, I’m not comfortable with it.”
Elodie didn’t seem quite comfortable with the topic of conversation, either, but Anna continued.
“It’s just hard, isn’t it. You’ve grown up being empathetically told one thing all your life, and then you have to change your outlook and inner monologue. I don’t know. I’m just rambling, sorry.”
Anna shook her head and looked over at Elodie, who was smiling a soft but inebriated smile.
“Have you ever had one?”
Elodie shook her head slightly, as if to wrap her head around the question.
“An abortion?”Anna nodded.
“No. I’m gay. I assume, and hope, that if I ever do end up pregnant, I’ll be there on purpose.”
Anna, seemingly very surprised, leant back in the sofa.
Elodie nodded with a knowing look behind her eyes. She didn’t fit people’s bill when it came to gay women, and it annoyed her to no end that this was so very often the response she got.
“Huh. I didn’t see that coming. I always assumed…”
Realizing her error, she sat up straighter, and looked Elodie in the eyes.
“Oh, I’m sorry. That was super rude, wasn’t it. Forgive my ignorance, I’m from the church.”
Elodie laughed loudly at the flustered woman across from her.
“It’s fine, I’m just teasing you. Don’t worry. Does it bother you?”
“You being gay? No, just another one of those things I learned about in very different ways over the decades.”
“Well, I can imagine their view on homosexuality,” Elodie mused, “if what you’ve said about abortion stands.”
Anna lifted her glass and saluted her, leaving room for Elodie to assume she was right on the money.
Elodie spotted Anna in the crowd outside the hospital, rushing towards her in her bright blue scrubs and white coat. This was the first time Elodie had seen the brunette in her hospital clothes, and it felt odd to see her look so official. She could always tell how measured and thoughtful Anna was with how she spoke, and how she related to other people when they were together. Her intelligence always shone through in whatever she did. In the few times they had been drinking together, not even the alcohol could hinder Anna’s mind from churning. Elodie all the sudden found herself facing the pinnacle of doctor-Anna, punctuated by the stethoscope around her neck.
“Cute teddy bear,” Elodie said, smirking, pointing towards the small, white teddy bear that was fastened to the pocket of her coat. Anna looked a little embarrassed, but took it in her stride.