Today, I was at the gym after more than half a year. I was huffing and puffing on the cycle, the fourth machine I go on, wondering how I long I would last.
Towards my left, two people came closer to the “milon circle” area. One was on the wheel chair and the other was pushing the wheel chair. The one pushing came close to the single step, turned the wheel chair around and climbed up backwards. After ensuring the right angle, he pulled the wheel chair up and turned the wheel chair around. I could now see the one on the wheel chair – he was very thin and had only one leg.
The one on the wheel chair, put the card into the reader for registration. He then pulled himself close to the first machine where the other one had already taken his place.
One minute passed, when I looked up, he had already moved to the next machine. The one on the wheel chair, had moved together with him but sat at the side. It was only at the third machine that I noticed something else. The one on the wheel chair raised himself and put the card in – this continued at the fourth machine.
By the time the one on the wheel chair put the card into the fifth machine, I was huffing and puffing on the elliptical. He returned my smile, lifting his head from the mobile phone where he seemed to be reading something. The one who was exercising at the fifth seemed really fit and did it without any strain.
As I gave another big huff puff and looked up again, the exercising man had stood up from the fifth machine. He felt the controls of the machine, pulled out the card, handed it over to his companion on the wheel chair, stretched out both his hands in front and felt the air. The one on the wheel chair brought his chair quickly forward, held the left hand gently and guided him to the next machine. The exercising one felt the machine and took his seat. The one on the wheel chair put the card in, took out the water bottle and handed to the one about to exercise.
In Berlin, I relied on Manu for support in the U Bahn even as a blind boy, supported by his mother, stood next to me. Today, I was consumed by my struggles to get through the 35 minutes on the machines until I got a glimpse of how these two people support each other.