The gym door
Interior. Early evening. A gym with the usual stuff. Some weights strewn around. A treadmill. A training cycle. Cross trainer…
Treadmill moving. There is someone working out on it. A middle-aged woman. Walking fast. She’s a little plump, average looking with a pleasant face.
In the background the sounds of the birds as they’re flying back home. The woman is facing the mirror as she works out on the treadmill. Something catches her eye. She darts a quick, almost nervous glance at the glass door at the entrance of the gym.
Woman – Excuse me? Who’s it?
Nothing. She continues working out. Dusk has fallen. The gym gets a little darker.
Woman (under her breath) – Should’ve turned the lights on.
The ticker on the treadmill shows that she has already completed 28 minutes. She is a little out of breath. Something startles her and the camera follows her gaze to the entrance of the gym. It seems like there is a shadow standing by the door.
Woman calls out in a slight quavering voice – Who’s it? Are you looking for someone? Excuse me?
She continues in this vein for a little while longer and then gives up. The treadmill sticker shows 34 minutes. Clearly she’s not done yet because she moves up the speed. There is the sound of wind all around and the view from the glass windows of the gym is spectacular.
Faint sounds of music from a distant loud speaker. There are stray dogs barking in the road outside. In the gym, very little of the outside noise seeps in. The woman hits the pause button as she sees that her phone is blinking. Someone is trying to reach her.
She answers the phone – Yes, I’m almost done. Just 5-7 minutes left and then I’ll be home. Sure…get it started…no, no I’ll do something about it’.
She is on the final spurt of gym-energy. She bumps up the speed and walks on determinedly.
Eyes ahead. Walking fast. She’s humming under her breath.
Woman – One more round and then I’ll be done. Two more rounds and then I’ll be strong. Three more rounds and then it’s more confidence …..
She goes on inspiring herself to move faster. Her breathing is faster too.
The shadow at the gym door gets a little darker, as does the room. This time she doesn’t pay attention to it. Continues with her humming. The treadmill ticker shows 39 minutes.
Woman – Six more minutes and then I’m done. Five more minutes and then it’s over. Four more minutes ….
The shadow detaches itself from the entrance of the gym and almost swoops down on the woman in a matter of seconds.
Woman – Four more minutes and then easy-peasy……ohhh (woman’s voice climbs a few pitches high and stops abruptly)
The treadmill sounds continue. The ticker shows 44 minutes …you’re almost done. And then the ticker goes blank. The camera stays focussed on it. With a stuttering beep it comes back to life and the words that come on it screen are – You’re done!
Cut to a long shot of the gym. Everything is in place. The door opens and the manager in charge of the gym marches in almost. He stops and looks down, spots something on the floor and is about to pick it up when he notices something. He picks it up. It’s a picture of the woman who was walking on the treadmill. She’s smiling at the camera.
He speaks to himself – Well, I’ll be damned. Isn’t that Urmila? I thought she died in that fire on the top floor. How come her picture?
He looks around helplessly and then shrugging his shoulders he carries on walking.