“You know how I can tell you’re a gymnast?”
“You’re always just out of the shower.”
Monica stirred in John’s arms, opened her eyes a crack. They were curled together on one of the plush sofas in a corner of the NAU lounge. Several other athletes were hanging out as well, talking, reading, doing homework, watching the newsfeeds, playing video games. Every now and then a security guard walked by, glancing, surveying.
“You know how I know you’re a gymnast?” Monica asked.
John put his hand over hers, brushed his thumb over her knuckles. “How?”
“The palms of your hands are tougher than the soles of your feet.”
John chuckled. “Okay. You know how I know you’re a gymnast?”
“You use chalk more often than soap.”
“Eww . . .”
“I’ve got more.”
“I was afraid of that.”
“The noise your ankles make while walking alerts people that you’re near.”
“I’ve got one.”
“You’ve actually used the words ‘virtuosity’ and ‘amplitude,’ and you know what they both mean.”
Gentle laughter caused John’s abdomen to ripple. “Lots of syllables there.”
“I have another. When you raise your hand in class, you have perfect form, arm straight, fingers pointed and together.”
“You know how I know you’re a gymnast?” asked John. “Your P.E. teacher tells you to do twenty pull-ups; you finish and ask what to do now that you’ve warmed up.”
“I think I’ll write that one down.”
“In your circle of friends,” John continued, “five feet is considered tall.”
“You do your homework in a straddle split.”
“It’s on my list of things to try before I die.”
This came from a conversation I had with a gymnast friend while researching the novel. I asked her something like, “If you were obsessed with the sport—more than you already are—what would you and your boyfriend talk about in your free time?” Now if I can only figure out why Smashwords is garbling my OpenOffice.org-generated Word documents. Anyone got any ideas? And please don’t say “install Microsoft Word” unless you’re perfectly happy buying me a copy.
(In the meantime, the Heroes’ Day Kindle e-book and
Jessture.com PDF downloads seem to be working just fine, so you’re welcome to start there until I get my shit together.)