Joe's Story

The growing pains of a teenage boy

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18. Time had passed sc

Chapter 18 Time had passed

I’m seventeen now a senior prefect, my brother has moved on to university, Sam is still my girlfriend and I work for Lucky the milkman.

   Me, fat, no way. I told Sam she was mistaken, any weight I had put on was pure muscle. It had to be with all the lifting and moving of milk bottle crates I did every morning. I was most upset that she should think otherwise.

   Yet I hated to admit it, even to myself, she was right. After my shower, looking in the mirror while getting dressed, I could see my stomach was quite flabby, and having increased in size, it was now bulging over the waistband of my jeans.

   It always amazes me how things left unsaid can be totally ignored. Now Sam had pointed out my weight gain, I became very self-conscious about how I appeared to others.

   At first, I tried walking about holding in my stomach. That lasted for all of five minutes. Next, I thought I would forgo food but when the bell sounded announcing it was lunchtime, I was hungry, so stood in line with the rest of my friends outside ‘Wendy’s’, the fish and chip shop.

   It was while walking back to school through the park that we discovered that the local council had installed an outside gym with modern style equipment such as a chest press, a rower and pull down machines. All of which were open to the public to use free of charge.

   Naturally, we all had to have a go right there and then. It was fun and cheered me up as I had a good laugh at how puny my friends appeared compared to both Charley and me, who had developed quite muscular upper bodies due to our working in the milk trade.

   As we left I noticed that the council was offering free weekly instructor- led training sessions on Saturdays.

                                      ***** 

   To say I had the fitness bug was rather an understatement. Each morning this week I had gotten up extra early, leaving the house as dawn was breaking. Then I had jogged the short distance to the open-air gym in the park. It was so early that I had to take a towel to wipe the morning dew from the various piece of equipment, before I could use them.

   At least this early in the morning no one else was mad enough to be around. This allowed me clear access to go from one exercise machine to another without having to wait.

   My workout routine mainly concentrated on the lower half of my body with especial attention to bench sit-ups. Hopefully, this would get rid of the extra fat that I had built up around my middle.

   It was Saturday and the end of a long hard week. I was just finishing off doing my last set of bench sit-ups, when I felt a slight pain in my stomach. After which, I was unable to continue, as it was too painful, apparently, I had pulled a muscle.

   Later at work, I was still able to sling crates around as usual, because I had nicked some strong painkillers from my mum’s bathroom cabinet. Occasionally I would show that I was hurting.

   This prompted Charley to inquire. “What’s wrong with you Joe? You look like you’re in pain.”

   “Oh, it’s nothing really,” I answered, somewhat embarrassed to tell the truth.

   “Well?” Charley demanded.

   “You know the gym in the park,” I blurted out. “Well every morning this week I’ve been going down there before work and today I pulled a stomach muscle.”

   “Don’t you get enough exercise around here?” Charley exclaimed looking at me as though I was mad.

   “Well yes, but Sam thought I was getting fat around the waist.”

   “Good God man there’s easier ways to lose weight around the middle. Go swimming”.

   The next day I could hardly move let alone sling crates around. I hurt so much that I ended up not going to work for two weeks and only just about made it into school.

                              **** 

Hell, I was in a bad mood today. I had taken my driving test and failed just because I had to do an emergency stop.

   There had been this old woman with a walking stick standing at the zebra crossing.

   How should I have known she was about to step out as I approached the crossing.

   Well I stopped in time, didn’t I? I still don’t understand why the examiner failed me, maybe it was because I swore and call the old girl a cow.

   Afterwards, what really pissed me off was how my driving instructor had gone on and on about it.

   Maybe I’ll just get myself a motorbike, like the one Tom has next door. He let me take it out for a spin yesterday. Okay, only down the road and back.

   It was really fantastic. I can still remember the sensation of sitting astride the bike and feeling the thumping of that powerful engine between my legs. Also, as I accelerated, the air rushing passed me.

   I doubt that mum would go for it even though my provisional licence with an L plate would allow me to have wheels.

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