When Katherine embarked on her I’m-gonna-get-back-in-shape regime she envisioned a smooth return to a gym. There would be daily workouts at the gym-the reassuring clank of weights dropping back into place after each rep.



She’d pump iron like she did “back in the day.” 

The gym she joined was big, bright, airy. Busy. The smell of cleaning products blended with disinfectant and body oils. Some folks were sharing machines, alternating sets. Over in a far corner a very husky guy was working out. It was a noisy workout complete with grunts and audible exhales.

Yes, I want a corner area to begin my program, but not near him. 

A gleaming all-in-one machine was free. A very new all-in-one. Okaay. I can figure this out. The settings looked a little different from what she remembered. Nothing moved when she tried to set the weight. She tugged. She pressed. She stepped back and glared at the now-unfriendly lat/pull-down/row fixture. 

Being primed for a workout and ready to roll, her senses were vibrating with energy. She felt, before she saw, someone-big and standing next to her. This someone was probably about 6’1.” But close up he seemed 6’9” with overlarge biceps, triceps, lats, chest. The whole package radiated strong, robust. 

It was husky guy. I hope he doesn’t think he’s gonna to cut in here. He looked her up and down. Not in an intrusive way, mainly because his eyes were very blue and quite twinkly with glints of gold. He bent over and did some kind of maneuvering with all the doo-dad settings. He stepped back, and did the hand out here-you-go gesture. She was locked into those eyes. He gave a big grin and stepped back a bit more — head tilted a little to one side. “There” was his contribution to the encounter. He walked away.

She could only have her gaze follow him as he walked away knowing, yes knowing, he was one of those Earth Angels – hanging out in unexpected places to protect, leaving a trace of light. Maybe he was a Guardian Earth Angel. It was the blue eyes that clinched it.

Thank you, KB, for the “seed” for this story.

Ethel Lee-Miller blogs regularly about people, the power of words, and her writing life. She’s retired from professional writing gigs after 30 years of teaching, coaching, editing, and gathering writers to publicly share their work. She is the author of Thinking of Miller Place, and Seedlings, Stories of Relationships. In retirement she writes to inspire, to connect with folks, and for the pure enjoyment of it. Ethel enjoys sharing stories at Odyssey Storytelling, Zoom gatherings, and anywhere there’s a mic or a Zoom room.