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“Welcome to Everytime Fitness!”

 

A huge burly man in uniform was smiling at her as she pushed at the glass doors of the gym. He faced her with a clipboard in hand, leaning by the counter.

 

Yssa tried to smile back at the man, “Welcome din! Hehe.”

 

WELCOME DIN? ANO AKO STAFF?

 

“Haven’t seen you around yet, ma’am. Are you hoping for a gym subscription?”

 

“Ah, yes? Ano bang meron kayo?”

 

“Right this way, ma’am. Explain ko sa’yo ‘yung membership namin.”

 

Yssa followed the man to a small office. She looked around and couldn’t help but be disappointed. There were just tall guys, and baby boys, and sweaty men. She can see them eyeing each other too. She smiled to herself.

 

Siguro kapag nagladlad ako ng pride flag dito magpapaparty silang lahat.

 

The staff gestured for her to sit, and she did. He sat beside her, giving her a sheet of paper. “My name is Nardo, ma’am. And here’s the prices for our membership.”

 

“Ah, wala ba kayo nung pang-one month lang? I just needed to go to the gym to prepare for my softball tournament. Next month na kasi siya. I don’t need the other things naman.”

 

Nardo nodded at her, leaning a bit closer. “I can personally train you, ma’am! ‘Yung pinsan ng kapatid ng kaklase ko nung elementary, nasa softball varsity! So, you can say I have been exposed to it po.”

 

Nardo leaned even closer. Yssa moved away, “Ah, haha. No thanks.”

 

“Sige na, ma’am. No extra charge naman. You’re a valued customer naman po.”

 

Kuya, mag-deodorant ka naman.

 

Yssa just smiled at him, “Ah, can I sign somewhere? I want to pay na rin kasi. Hinihintay na rin kasi ako ng kapatid ko.”

 

Her phone started to ring. She took it from her pocket and waved it at Nardo, “See?”

 

Before Nardo can say anything, she answered the phone.

“Oy, sisteraka. Where’s your gay ass?” Benjo asked. Yssa can hear another voice from the other line, much lower, but she couldn’t make out what it was saying.

 

“Gym pa rin! Tell Don, I said hi. Antagal kasi dito sa putragis na Everytime Fitness na ‘to. Magpapa-sign up na nga lang ang dami pang satsat. I think I’ll be there in twenty, tops?”

 

“Eh, ano ba naman ‘yan.” Yssa heard Benjo sighing on the other line. “Ready to go na kami ni Maps, eh.”

 

“E ‘di mag-isang round pa kayo! Ang daming arte,” Yssa placed her hand on her waist.

 

She was sure her twin had said something, but everything seemed to be muted the moment the glass doors of the gym opened.

 

Thin-rimmed glasses. Braided pigtails. Pretty. And height. Height, and height. Lots of it.

 

Anak ng kipay ni inday...

 

She walked towards the lockers. Yssa’s gay eyes started stalking her as she took a few things and placed her bag inside the lockers. With a few strides from her long legs, she walked towards the changing room.

 

“Yssa! Yssabela!”

 

She blinked back to life when the girl closed the door.

 

“Sayang load ko! Ano na? Matatapos ka na ba diyan?”

 

Yssa’s eyes darted from the door to the phone. She cupped her mouth, “Ah, hihi. Date muna kayo ni Don, okay? Enjoy, twinnie. Love you!”

 

She ended the call and sighed, her gaze couldn’t stay away from the changing room. She lost track on how long she was staring until the door opened again.

 

SA NGALAN NG MGA ANAK NI AGAPITO AT NI MANANG TERESITA!!!

 

GRABE MAY PANDESAL!!

 

PAN! DE! SAL!

 

Yssa swallowed all the saliva that threatened to spill from her mouth.

 

MUCHOS GRACIAS QUERIDOS ANGELES A LA POTA

She took her phone and started typing up a message. She gulped. The girl went back to the lockers wearing an athletic bra with matching leggings which hugged her curves perfectly.

 

She was perfectly toned.

 

The girl took a jug from her bag and started drinking. Yssa watched as her neck muscles moved, mouth completely dry. Droplets of what she was drinking started to spill a bit on the side of her mouth.

 

After her swig, the girl wiped at the spill with the back of her mouth.

 

“Uh, miss? Miss!”

 

Yssa turned to Nardo, who she completely forgot about. He was at the counter, giving her forms to sign.

 

She walked over to him, but she was still trying hard not to stare at the girl. She took the pen from him, signed, and gave it back. Yssa took her card from her wallet and handed it to Nardo.

 

“Pwede ba magpaturo sa mga members?” She asked.

 

“Ah… depende po sa kanila,” said Nardo.

 

Yssa nodded without thinking much about it. Maybe she can ask her…something?

 

ASK HER WHAT? “Miss, ano po gagawin ko para hindi na kita titigan?” Ganun? Tangina akala mo naman may bayag.

 

After Nardo gave Yssa her card and ther receipt, she dropped it inside her bag. The girl was already nowhere to be found by the lockers. She sighed and stepped out of the gym.

 

HAY MI AMOR KAY GANDA NG BUHAY

 


 

 

Yssa went back to the gym three days later, on a Saturday. That way it won’t get in the way of her academics and her official softball practice.

 

Nardo was smiling at her as she enter the gym. She quickly placed her bag inside her designated locker, taking her jug with her. She went in her gym clothes so she wouldn’t waste time to change.

 

Yssa placed her earbuds in and chose a good song and hopped on the treadmill. She started at the slow paces, humming along to the tune.

 

KAYA KO TO! AJA! FIGHTING!

 

Yssa gradually increased her speed. She smiled Maybe she can even run fifteen kilometers today. Maybe even more! After ten more minutes, she sped up into a jog. Yssa can see the outside of the gym clearly.

 

There are a lot of couples, holding hands and kissing.

 

YAK ANO BA NAMAN YANG VIEW NA TO

 

But she won’t give up! She shook her head, trying to not let it annoy her too much. It’s not that she despises PDA, she’s used to seeing it up close and personal. She rolled her eyes, thinking of Salle and her twin brother that couldn’t do anything else but snake themselves around their ‘babies’.

 

She just doesn’t like it when people brag it around as if she’s missing out on something so grand. Well, she doesn’t. Especially when people tell her she’d be a good girlfriend for any guy.

 

Her gay existence can’t live with shit like that.

 

Yssa decided it’s time. She started to run, keeping in check the rhythm of her breaths. It feels good. Her head started to sway in the beat of the sounds. She can do it!

 

She can bag gold for her teammates, too, if she kept up with this. That’ll be really awesome.

 

Yssa kept on running. Her grasp on time fades away, and she became one with her legs, speeding against the platform. She smiled, totally enjoying the adrenaline and the sweat.

 

Then she started to look around the gym as she slow down for a bit, only to caught the eyes of the girl--

 

ANAK NG TUPA FFADDSADSODLFDFDS!!

 

“Puta, sakit ng batok ko!” She gritted out as everything flew away from her head. She was looking at the ceiling. The ceiling! People’s head started to surround her.

 

Then she realized. Her hips is against the edge of the platform, and both of her legs are hoisted upward. Her chin is poking the top of her breasts.

 

She can’t breathe well, too. And maybe her blood circulation has been cut off somewhere. She tried to move, only to move a millimeter. The treadmill has stopped moving under her hips. She tried to move again, “Put--”

 

“Oh,” the-- THE PRETTY GIRL SAID. PUTANGINA THE PRETTY GIRL . With all that thought, Yssa failed to process what THE PRETTY GIRL SAID. THE PRETTY GIRL HAD TALKED. OPENED HER MOUTH AND SHIT.

 

OH MY GOD.

 

“Uhh,” was what she managed to get out. Yssa immediately felt the rush of blood to her cheeks.

 

The pretty girl then laughed.

 

LAUGHED PUTA TUMAWA PUTA BAKIT ANG SARAP TANGINA

 

Hands started to help her get up. Hands? Kaninong kamay-- then she looked at who was holding her up.

 

HHHH HHHHH HHHHH HHHH HHHHH HHH HHHH HHH HHHH

 

Pretty girl smiled at her, “Okey ka lang ba?”

 

UHHHHHH NO NO NO NO NO NO NO

 

Her brain started to shut down on her, “I am… okey! Just fine, just fine!” Why is she talking like a tourist in her first time overseas?

 

“Okey!” Pretty Girl said. “Ingat ka next time.”

 

NAKO PATAY NA YSSABELA

 


 

 

With last week’s… stuff still in her mind, Yssa couldn’t properly do anything at all. She mistakenly wore her leggings in the wrong side, and almost forgot her keys. She sighed as she finished her cardio without a hitch this time. Taking her jug from the side, she opened the bottle and took a swig.

 

Yssa walked towards the weights. She placed her jug doen by a bench and sat, taking to 4 kg weights on each hand.

 

She took a deep breath and started to lift them.

 

LEFT RIGHT LEFT RIGHT LEFT RIGHT LEFT RIGHT LEFT RIGHT LEFT

 

She looked at herself at the mirror, eyes on her biceps. They exist, they’re there, but maybe she can improve them too! Especially for the softball tournament! Yssa only have three weeks remaining. She needs to do good with her training.

 

Today, the gym isn’t so full. She can do her workouts in peace. Her thoughts went to the Pretty Girl. She hasn’t been around the same time as Yssa ever since that day. That awful day last week. She fell from the treadmill!

 

Benjo had given her hours of laughter the moment she old him. Even Don was smiling. The little shits.

 

She even got a text from Don this morning about the physics of treadmills and how she can take control of her inertia (is the even saying it right?) so she can try to prevent what happened to her from happening again.

 

Whereas her twin just teased her relentlessly about it, asking if she fell every time she comes home from the gym.

 

She was still doing her lifting routines when she heard that laughter. THAT ONE, THAT ONE LAUGHTER OH SHIT SHE’S --

 

Pretty Girl was laughing a bit on her phone, “Okey. Manuel, ‘wag mo kalimutan tirhan ako! Sige, ingat ka rin. Labyu!”

 

OH GOD SHE JUST SAID LABYU TO SOMEONE OH FKNSIOFNS GUSTO KO RIN AKO RIN

 

Yssa continued lifting the barbels up to her chin level as the Pretty Girl walked around. She was wearing her usual. Yssa’s brain still yells TALL ABS BEAUTIFUL in her very much gay head.

 

She took a deep breath, she must show that she won’t fuck up this time-- ARAY KO JUSKO MINAMAHAL NA SANTISIMA PUTANGINA

 

She had dropped one of the barbels. On her feet. It wasn’t that painful to the point of bleeding or hospitals, but it still hurt.

 

Gritting her teeth, Yssa took hold of the barbel on her feet and lifted it. Most of the pain subsided at the loss of the pressure and contact, but it still stings. Yssa bit her lip as she placed both barbels down and away from her.

 

TANGINA KASASABI LANG IH ANUNA HUHUHU BAKET BA BAKLA

 

She tried to touch the toes through her gym shoes. They hurt. Then another pair of gym shoes came into view. Yssa looked up and then saw-- PRETTY GIRL ITS PRETTY GIRL OH GOD ACT NORMAL

 

“Natamaan ba paa mo?” She asked, voice calming.

 

Yssa could only nod.

 

When Pretty Girl knelt in front of her-- I DO PAKASAL NA TAYO --Yssa panicked. She waved her hands in front of the girl, “Ah! But it wasn’t that much painful! Okey lang! I am okey!”

 

“Sure ka?”

 

“Uh…”

 

“Tignan lang natin,” she said, showing her palm to Yssa. She smiled, “I have an ointment, see? Bigay nung pinsan ko, si Manuel. It think it’s for cases like this.”

 

Yssa most likely turned to jelly at that point. Pretty Girl started to untie her shoelaces.

 

PUTANGINA VIRGIN PA PO AKO PLEASE

 

But Yssa can only watch Pretty Girl wordlessly. Once she had Yssa’s shoes and sock removed, she poked at the toes.

 

“AW! ARAY SAKIT OH MY SANTA SCOLASTICA--”

 

Pretty Girl laughed a bit and looked at Yssa, “See? Namamaga na nga. Kaya mo ba? Lalagyan ko lang ng ointment. It’s anti-inflammatory.”

 

She nodded. When Pretty Girl touched her toes with the ointment, Yssa’s sure her head exploded.

 


 

 

Yssa lamented one thing over what happened last week. She failed to ask Pretty Girl’s name! How can someone be so incredibly gay and forget that part? Well, the ointment did help but she was still benched for a couple of days. She wouldn’t be able to kick something in her state, their coach told her.

 

So, she did her weights okay today. She didn’t fall from the treadmill, too. Which would be a good sign.

 

But Pretty Girl goes by on Saturdays around this time, too, and Yssa hopes she wouldn’t make a fool out of herself the second time.

 

Pretty Girl is really really kind, though, for helping Yssa on both of the times she was in crisis. She felt a huge blush on her cheek, and she had to bite her lip.

 

AA AAAA AAAA AA PUTRAGES ANG GANDA NA ANG BAIT PA FMWEF FMFM

 

Yssa decided to some exercise ball this time. She doesn’t have any experiences with it, though. When she picked up a ball and went over an unoccupied yoga mat, she had to ignore Nardo’s smile. He still offers her ‘free coaching’ whenever she tries to do something new.

 

She had watched Mia and the others work around with these balls, and it seemed pretty easy enough.

 

So, Yssa tried to to copy what she can remember from them. She lifted the ball over her head, which has some weight to it too, Yssa was surprised. She repeated the ball-lifting a couple of times. She doesn’t know if she was doing it right, though.

 

After a few more times, she decided to hold the ball in front of her. Then she started to squat. Yssa can feel her arms being strained a bit. Maybe this is how to do it?

 

After a few minutes of squatting, Yssa remembered that there are positions that involves lying on top of the ball or something fairly similar.

 

She dropped the ball, went down on her knees, and tucked the ball under her stomach. As the leaned on the ball, Yssa raised a foot upward. She stayed like that for a few seconds, as if she was stretching it out. Then she did it with the other foot.

 

Yssa repeated the exercise, feeling more like she’s doing it a bit more correct. She started to sweat, which is good. Seems like she’s really doing a full workout. Nardo can take his coaching away.

 

Of course it was the moment the universe allowed Pretty Girl to walk by.

 

PRETTY GIRL IS IN A HIGH PONYTAIL

 

Yssa tried to focus keeping her balance on the ball.

 

THIS IS A WHOLE NEW LEVEL OF GAYNESS SHE’S NEVER EXPERIENCE BEFORE

 

She placed a hand down, and--URGH! So many things happened at once. Yssa felt her hand slip becaue of the sweat on the floor. The moment she started to slide, face first, on the ball, her reflexes kicked in. She darted a leg forward, under the ball, in order to break her fall.

 

Only to put herself in a different problem altogether.

 

Yssa watched as the ball rolled away from her until it hit a pair of long legs. Oh, haha. OF COURSE SIYA PA TALAGA NAPAKAGALENG NAMAN

 

Yssa wanted to hide. Her face already turned red as Pretty Girl looked at her. She smiled at Yssa, then blinked at her. “You can do a split! That’s really cool.”

 

COOL COOL COOL COOL COOL COOL COOL COOL BAKLA PUTA COOL DAW

 

It was only when Yssa noticed that she was, in fact, doing a split on the yoga mat. WHAT? She can totally do perfect splits, but she hasn’t stretched out properly and she hasn’t had that kind of practice for weeks because of the softball tournament so-- HAHA PUTA OF COURSE.

 

Yssa had tried to move herself around in the current position she found herself in, and of course she just had to be stuck.

 

AFTER BEING COMPLIMENTED BY PRETTY GIRL ABOUT IT NO LESS PLEASE WHY

 

“Oh, okey ka lang?” Pretty Girl then asked and she started to walk towards Yssa.

 

“Ah! Hinde, hinde, hinde, I am totally okey!”

 

“Sure? Ang pula ng mukha mo.”

 

“Ah… Eh…”

 

“Are you stuck? Does it hurt?”

 

HANDS! PRETTY GIRL HANDS! OH GOD OH GOD OH MY GOD

 

She took hold of Yssa’s arms and lifted her up from her position without breaking a sweat. Without even blinking. She’s so strong! Yssa feels like she’s going to break into a series of fevers until she grows old and gray.

 

“There!” Pretty Girl said, smiling. “So, I… uhm, haven’t gotten your name yet!” Then she blinked, as if surprised that she was able to say something like that. “Ah! That’s because we see each other around the gym lately and… Paano ba ‘to.. I’m Libby! Yes, that’s my name.”

 

LIBBY

 

WHAT THE

 

ALL THE SAINTS IN THE WORLD OH GOD

 

HER NAME IS EVEN BEAUTIFUL

 

PLEASE STILL BE ALIVE MY POOR GAY HEART

 

LIBBY LIBBY LIBBY LIBBY

 

“Okey, Libby!” Yssa tried not to be a puddle on the floor. “Yssa.”

 


 

 

Yssa couldn’t believe it. The softball tournament is finally next week! And her month-long gym subscription will be up, too. She won’t be seeing Pretty Girl again-- NO NO NO. She’s here to train and be a good player. Be the MVP, even!

 

So, she looked at the punching bag again, before landing a double punch. She needs all the training that she can get. She doesn’t want to let anybody in her team be let down, anyway.

 

But the events of last week almost always made her cringe. She’s een a total dooey! What is she even doing. She doesn’t even know how she managed to be such a disaster in such a short time. Maybe going to the gym isn’t for her. Or maybe there’s some bad luck floating around this particular branch?

 

It was actually Benjo who suggested that ‘bad luck’ thing. Then he and Don started giving her things to do to relinquish bad luck, one of them even suggested that she throw salt over her shoulder to cleanse herself off it.

 

But despite that, Yssa must do a lot more effort to defeat the bad luck! Fighting!

 

Trying to hype herself up, she started punching more and quicker, her reflexes and past training kicking in. Putting good footwork here and there, too.

 

One, two! One, two! One, two! One, two!

 

Yssa can have it! She can have this good day! Especially today is another day when Yssa and Libby go to the gym around the same time. All isn’t lost! She can still reclaim a bit of all the embarassing things she did the past weeks.

 

Yssa smiled as she punched the bag some more. She can totally do it!

 

“Nice to see you again, Yssa!”

 

Yssa’s heart went up to her brain and she-- PUNCH!

 


 

 

“Ha..?”

 

Yssa opened her eyes, blinking. She tried to get up from where she was lying down but she couldn’t. Libby was looking down at her.

 

LIBBY IS LOOKING DOWN AT HER

 

“Ah…”

 

“Yssa, nahimatay ka! We didn’t know what to do!”

 

What? Oh, right. She had punched the punching bag so hard that it bounced back and hit her face.

 

Hard.

 

She fainted, though.

 

SHE FAINTED PUTA ANAK NG LAHAT NG KAHIHIYAN SA BUHAY BAKET PO BAKEEET

 

“But I think everything is okay?” Libby said. Yssa got up to a sitting position and looked at the beautiful girl who was sitting by her, “Uy, salamat.”

 

All of Yssa’s blood rushed up to her face, “Salamat. Nakakahiya na ko, sobra.”

 

“AH! HINDE! IT’S ACTUALLY CUTE! ACK--! NO, I MEAN--! It’s really fine! I didn’t mind!”

 

“But really, thank you talaga.”

 

Libby turned red, “Yes! Okey! Happy birthday din!”

 

They both stopped and blinked at each other for a few seconds before laughing.

 

“OH MY GOD HAPPY BIRTHDAY HAHAHA” Yssa grinned. She couldn’t help it.

 

“So--sorry!” Libby said. “‘Di nakapag-isip, haha.”

 

After their laughter died down, Libby looked at Yssa. “Come to think of it, it’s been just weeks since I first saw you around.”

 

“Ah! Kasi I’m here to prepare for my softball tournament.”

 

“A gym subscription just to prepare for a tournament?” Libby smiled, “Ang dedicated mo naman.”

 

Yssa shrugged, “Well, my team depends on me a lot. Ayoko naman na madisappoint sila.”

 

“That’s really sweet of you.”

 

SHE IS TALKING NORMALLY WITH ME HOLY SHIT

 

SAAN KA NAKAKUHA NG LAKAS YSSABELA

 

SHIT GAGO FWFNIOFNEF

 

“Ah, hindi ba kita naistorbo sa routine mo?”

 

She quickly shook her head, “Nuh-uh. Are you ready to continue? I can help you with sit-ups, if you want.”

 

Yssa can only nod. What is she gonna do? Decline it?

 

So they made their way to another rummber mat. Yssa laid down and Libby placed her knees on the tops of Yssa’s feet.

 

“Okay, go!”

 

Yssa placed both hands under her head and hoisted her self up, only to break the distance between them.

 

Not just break… they’re just around three inches apart!

 

Yssa let herself fall on the mat, “I can’t. Di ko kaya.”

 

“Why? Are you still dizzy dahil dun sa punching bag? Do you wanna stop?”

 

“Ah! No! I’m okay! One hundred pa kaya ko!”

 

Libby chuckled, “Are you sure? It’s okay not to push it, you know. When’s the softball tournament?”

 

“Next week.”

 

“Ayun, it’s still next week. But are you sure you can try some more?”

 

Yssa nodded, trying to be brave. She took a deep breath and hoisted herself up again.

 

TANGINA BAKET ANG GANDA MAG HULOS DILI KA BAKLAAAAA

 

And again.

 

OH JUSKO SALAMAT PO SA LAHAT NG NATUPAD KONG PANALANGIN

 

And again.

 

MAY PHD NA YATA AKO SA PAGIGING BAKLA ANUNA PUTANGINA

 

It took her three more sit-ups before she let herself fall again, face all red.

 

“Yssa,” Libby called as she placed her hand on Yssa’s cheek, “Hala, nilalagnat ka ba?”

 

“Ah, hindi! Mainit lang yata kasi!” Yssa tried to laugh it off.

 

She started to do more sit-ups. This time, she focused on looking at Libby’s eyes. They’re really beautiful. And she is kind, too, and doesn’t mind Yssa’s embarrassing moments.

 

OH OKAY BAKLA TALAGA AKO OKAY GETS KO NA PO

 

She makes Yssa want to do her best more. So, she did. Trying to do everything in her power despite all the heart hammering, face flushing, and all the things in between. She tried her best to not to do anything funny anymore.

 

After their whole time at the gym, Libby said she has to go ahead. Yssa tried not to look sad or mopey or someone with the biggest crush of all time.

 

Bad luck? Eh. Of course not. Getting the chance to talk to her is forever going to be the opposite of bad luck. Benjo needs to think about something else. Don, too.

 

“I’m meeting my cousins kasi,” she smiled. They both took their bags from the lockers. Yssa smiled back, her heart still beating so fast.

 

“Oh!” She handed her phone to Yssa, “Text me the venue of your softball tournament.”

 

“Ah--” Yssa’s brain started to buffer.

 

“Your number, if you want.” Libby said.

 

OH HELL ANONG BAD LUCK BAD LUCK KFNFSD WORTH IT LAHAT NG NANGYARI GAGO

 

With trembling fingers, Yssa tapped in her cellphone number. She gave it to Libby afterwards, who saved it.

 

oh god pagod na yung puso ko oh holy shit ayoko na tama na di ko na kaya maging bading

 

“I’ll text you. Save my number, ha? Then, tell me kung saan at kailan yung tournament mo. I can watch, right?”

 

Then she blinked, “Oh! If hindi mo gusto okey lang din naman, no biggie!”

 

“Ah, hinde! It’s fine! You can watch!”

 

“Really?” Libby smiled. “See you, and good luck, Yssa!”

 

When Libby waved goodbye, and Yssa felt her phone vibrate with her message, she thinks she can still do a thousand sit-ups more.

 

She will have to scream people’s ears off tonight.