He told me it was for the best. That the dull ache I was beginning to feel was evidence of success. That the hurt was good. And I listened to him; I continued to do as he said, letting his voice guide me through various positions, some slightly more painful than others, some more enjoyable.
"I can't," I said, my breath heavy, my face red.
"Trust me," he countered.
And so I did.
"Just a little bit more," he assured me, looking down at me. I could see approval in his eyes.
But I needed more than his approval. I needed something to keep me going.
"Tell me something, anything, to keep me from stopping," I said through my exhale.
"Sundresses." He said. "Sleeveless shirts. Tank tops. Bikinis. Spaghetti straps. Camisoles."
I finished the last of my three sets of tricep-dips and collapsed on the gym floor.
"I'm going to hate you so much tomorrow," I told him as I reached for my nearly empty water bottle.
"Yeah, but you'll love me when it's time to wear sexy little outfits this summer." He grinned as he took a seat on the bench to do his own third set.
He took to his workout and I stretched my burning arms.
And now, as I type, my whole upper body aches. My back, chest and arm muscles feel as though they've been wound too tightly. He's right, though. I'll love him for this later.
But until then, every time I reach for something or lift my arm, I will curse the day he was born.