“Fast forward,” said Lisa.
She looked on, not wanting to, but at the same time, unable to tear herself away. His legs appeared as if they might buckle during the session. Like before, he stopped for breaks, finally doing his hundred.
Brad froze, stooped with his hands on his legs.
Lisa breathed easier. She knew this teenager lived to be 58, so why did she feel any attachment to a man long dead? He would leave her, just like her husband and son did.
“No,” she told herself.
Things had changed now. Ian might be the new man in her life, at least she hoped. If nothing else, he acted kindly and supportive. Would he abandon her too, if he knew what kind of wife and mother she was to her family?
Best to leave that information to herself and enjoy his company for as long as she could? And what about Brad? It wasn’t fair to say “he abandoned her too.” Yes; he’d die; he already had; that wasn’t his fault.
She stepped up to Brad’s frozen holographic face.
“Brad, I have to tell you something… ”
Tears welled in her eyes.
Why did she find it difficult to speak to him? The unseeing eyes didn’t judge her.
“I’ve… been a bad wife,” she sobbed. “And I ignored my son.”
She reached out to touch his cheek. “I’ve started to think of you as a son.”
Did I just say that?
“Yes,” she said with conviction, “I do.”
Her hand passed through the image without resistance. She needed something more tangible, and therefore turned to the skeleton on the examination table. Gripping the bony hand fondly, she went on.
“Can you forgive me?”
His silence didn’t offer the solace she needed. At least his presence meant he hadn’t abandoned her.
“Play,” she whispered reluctantly.
Brad resumed the rubbing of his legs.
“Follow me,” Teyata said.
She lead the way over to the middle of the arch, but lower down. They stopped either side over the top of the semi’s trailer; approximately five metres below them. Teyata dropped through the gap, catching hold of the girders.
While suspended, she looked up.
“Now do 100 of these.”
She commenced to pull her chin above the girder and back down again.
“Chin ups,” said Brad.
“Yeah,” said Teyata, curling her body.
She kicked at the apex of her swing, landing lightly on the girders opposite Brad.
“Now you do it.”
Brad made to move.
“You don’t have to jump down; just do them,” Teyata said.
Brad climbed down into position. At least the hardened flesh of his hands gave him an iron grip without perspiring. He started to raise his chin to the bar, as Teyata ran off. She returned moments later with his Bible, and sat at the edge of another opening nearby. With legs dangling, she started to read.
Brad dreaded it when his arms grew tired. He had already fallen once on the trailer and didn’t relish doing so again.
With a grin, he recalled Teyata’s words about remaining focused. Straining, with teeth cracking, he did 13 repetitions after being ready to quit at 12.