Four Years Before
There was something wrong with Emily. He could always tell. He wasn’t sure if it was a twin thing or if it was because they were so close. Whenever she was stressed, she had this massive vein on her forehead that seemed to pulsate out of her brain. Adam named him Bob. Today, Bob was giving “fuck off” signals to everyone where they were eating brunch.
The Ohana Café, or The Breadcrumb as the locals called it, served fresh French toast made from sweet Hawaiian bread that was so delicious, Adam would sell his right kidney to have it made for him every day. He could probably even live without a lung if it meant being a glutton on that bread. Adam popped a bite of toast into his mouth as he closely examined Emily. She hadn’t said a word since the waiter brought their food. She was cutting at her toast so aggressively that it flattened into a pancake. Her long wispy brown hair trailed through the syrup on her plate. Adam felt his lip curl in disgust as he watched Emily push her hair behind her ears and a glob of sticky syrup smeared onto her freckled shoulder.
“Em, what are you, an animal? You don’t disrespect the toast like this,” he said as he forked another massive piece of toast in his mouth. He threw a napkin at her and gestured to clean herself up. She just huffed at him in response and finally took a bite of her food.
Adam immediately regretted going to brunch with Emily when it started. Emily had this strange habit she has had since they were kids. She could only enjoy a meal when she made noises while she ate. It went along the lines of “nom nom nom nom.” Disgusting. Luckily, he had practice ignoring the stares they occasionally attract as her volume increased with each passing bite.
“So what’s up? What have you been doing? I feel like I’ve hardly seen you this week,” Adam said to Emily. He mainly asked this to get her to stop nomming over her food but he was also curious as to what was bothering her. She stopped her obnoxious chewing to let out a giant sigh that spewed syrupy saliva onto the table.
“Agh! You can’t take me anywhere!” she said half-heartedly as she wiped up the spit from the table. “It’s just been really hectic at the bank lately. You know how customer service is.”
“Well, yeah, but something else is eating you. Bob told me.”
“Okay, so I was helping this one guy yesterday make a withdrawal. Everything was normal, you know? He was just taking out a couple hundred bucks to get some new car parts or something. He wouldn’t shut up about those goddamn car parts. . .”
“What kind of car did he have?”
“Does it matter? Anyway, after he left, Teresa told me that the guy actually had a knife on him and I just didn’t see it! He was talking about his car so much because he chickened out on trying to get money from me! Fuck this shit. I didn’t sign up for this.”
“Em, you think a guy was going to try and rob you with a knife?”
“Well, it would have worked. We’re required to comply with them. We call the police after they leave. They almost always get away with it too.”
“Are you okay?”
“Well, yeah, but it was like a near-death experience type deal, right?”
“You’d have to nearly die for it to be a near-death experience.”
“Semantics. You wouldn’t be taking this so lightly if you nearly died! Can you try and be a little sympathetic for once?”
Emily mopped up the rest of the syrup on her plate with the last bite of toast. Adam finished long ago and was just watching her with impatience. They were running late and Adam knew that Emily couldn’t be late for this.
“Alright, alright. You got all the syrup. We’re running late. Let’s pay.” Adam quickly got up from the table and pulled out his wallet. He handed the cashier a twenty, said “keep the change,” grabbed Emily’s arm and pulled her to the car.
“I don’t know if I should go today, Adam. I’m just going to give the whole place a weird vibe. Maybe I should sit it out.”
“No, this is what you need.”
They clambered into Emily’s jeep and peeled out of the parking lot. Adam liked feeling the cool breeze flow through his hair. Too bad he had so much hair putty in it that he couldn’t feel much of anything. He ran his hand through his crusty pompadour, listening to the satisfying crinkle noise it made as he did so. Maybe it was a mistake to style his hair today. Nah, it was never a mistake to look this good.
Emily and Adam pulled in front of the yoga studio and they hurriedly grabbed their mats from the back of the car. They ran inside, flip flops noisily thwacking on their heels. After they paid the fifteen dollars (“Why is yoga so expensive?” Adam complained.), they hurriedly walked over to the door of room three. They threw off their shoes and left behind their keys and wallets in a kindergarten style cubby.
As they walked through the door, a wave of moist heat enveloped Adam. Beads of sweat were already pricking at his forehead. The faint scent of body odor and lemon cleaning products stung his nose as he walked over to an empty space at the front of the class. People seemed to always avoid the front in yoga classes. He wasn’t scared though. Adam accepted the challenge of being in view of everyone. He unrolled his mat on the polished wood flooring and spread his towel out on top of the mat. He could see Emily out of the corner of his eye squirting a water bottle on her own towel.
“Alright everyone, we are going to start in Child’s Pose,” said Andrea, Adam and Emily’s favorite yoga instructor. Emily liked her because Andrea was helpful in getting into deeper positions. Adam liked her because she was a babe. Nothing like a little eye candy as he went into downward facing dog. Yeah, he knew he was a dick. The class crouched down on the mat, heads on the floor, arms above the mat, and knees spread wide practically in unison. Adam wanted to groan when he felt how much his groin was stretching from the pose. Why did yoga instructors always start the class with that pose?
“Let whatever that has been worrying you this week leave your mind. You are here and now. Be present in the studio. Your troubles can wait for you,” Andrea said with her soothing voice.
Later, Adam and Emily moved into Warrior II Pose. He was facing towards Emily’s back and he could already see the tension melting from her along with probably a gallon of sweat gushing from her pores. Whenever she was anxious, Adam noticed that her shoulders would be tensed up to her ears. Now, they were where shoulders were actually meant to be. They reversed their warrior and Adam could see the slight smile on Emily’s face, Bob nowhere to be seen.
Adam was getting really excited when the hour was almost up. His favorite pose was the one they always did at the very end.
“Now it’s time for Final Savasana,” Andrea said, “lay down flat on your mat. Lay with your shoulder blades directly underneath you. Let your feet splay apart. Relax your jaw, your eyes. . .feel all tension leave your body. We will be like this for two minutes.” Andrea let her soothing voice wash over them.
She played a song on her IPod that sounded like it was meant for a meditation CD. Adam felt himself slowly falling asleep, he was so utterly relaxed. The sound of wind chimes would invade his brain every once in awhile but he couldn’t be bothered. The smell of sweet lavender filled the room as Andrea walked around. She rubbed the oil into people’s temples and massaged their earlobes. Adam hoped she would come to him but she didn’t. She never does. He could sense that Andrea was walking over to where Emily laid. Andrea wafted her lavender oil around her and massaged the tension out of Emily’s temples. Just what Emily needed, Adam knew.
“When you are ready, sit up and look to me at the front of the class,” Adam laid for a few seconds longer before he built up the motivation to sit up. When he finally did, he saw that he was the last to do so.
“The teacher in me honors the teacher in you. Namaste,” Andrea said as everyone responded with their own namastes, “teacher training will be starting next week. See me at the front desk if you are interested in deepening your practice of yoga!”
Adam turned his head so quickly towards Emily that he felt his neck crack. He gave her a look and Emily seemed to know exactly what he was thinking. She mouthed “no” at him. He gave another look that said, “come on. Don’t be a chicken.” She responded with another look that said, “I’m no chicken!”
“Do it, Em! You’d be such a good yoga instructor. You love bossing people around in a voice that could put people to sleep!”
“I don’t have time! And do you realize how expensive it is for those teacher training courses?”
“You’ve been saving money for that stupid dress.”
“It’s not stupid!”
“It’s from a thrift store. Thrift stores are supposed to be cheap, you idiot. Just do it!”
“Why do you want me to do it so bad? I have a job.”
“Yeah, but you hate it. You only think you should stay there because you make good money!”
“Not everyone has their dream job like you. Some people need to suffer to get the dough they want.” Emily said as she tightly rolled up her yoga mat and towel.
“You’re right, I do have a great job working at the climbing wall. But I only do it so that I can climb for free. I need all the practice I can get! Me and Ryan are climbing this weekend at the Pinnacles!”
“If I sign up for it, will you shut up?” she asked with one hand on her hip, the other tightly clutching her yoga mat.
“Cross my heart, hope to die.”
Adam finished rolling up his own mat as Emily stomped off towards the front desk. He knew that she’d be thanking him later. He casually strolled towards the front desk himself and saw Emily signing her name on a sheet of paper that Andrea was holding out on a clipboard.
“Hey, there, Andrea!” Adam said. Andrea just rolled her eyes at him and turned around, effectively cutting off any potential conversation they could have.
“Why does Andrea hate me so much?” Adam asked Emily as they walked out of the studio towards their car.
“You don’t remember? You made fun of her boyfriend’s height and then tried to convince her to go out with you because you could at least reach the kitchen counter top.”
“Well, if that doesn’t get a girl, then I don’t know what will. Your species is a complicated one, Em.”
Emily shook her head in annoyance at Adam as she backed out of the parking space and pulled away. At least he didn’t hold Andrea at knife point.