Uptown Rantz

Don't Wanna Be No Uptown Fool

Zuzana Stays and a Votive Candle

Melissa calls it softcore porn…she found the bodyrock.tv bookmark on my browser. Zuzana…a goddess. I’m sure there are guys who watch her workout videos for the wrong reasons…watching the videos like the Warren Commission watching the Zapruder film, pausing frame-by-frame for something they may have missed the first 1000 times.

I found her one night while searching for body-weight workouts on Youtube. It was too cold to go to the gym, and going to Lifetime Fitness these days means about a 50/50 chance of running into Amanda and seeing how she’s gotten shorter and wider. Staying home with Zuzana made me stronger and faster.

Each of Zuzana’s videos begins with a familiar, “Hey guys,” or, “Hi body rockers,” in Zuzana’s eastern European accent where every syllable is sharply annunciated.  Her workouts use minimal equipment and are filled with spandex, sweat and Zuzana’s heaving chest. If the sweat froze in her abs, she would have perfectly square sweat ice-cubes.

We’re on our way to Melissa’s storage facility on a summer night when the humidity sticks to you like Saran Wrap. I tell her Zuzana stays in my bookmarks…not negotiable.

Going up the elevator to Melissa’s 4’ x 4’ storage unit, and the cement floors make it unusually cool inside among the maze of metal-padlocked doors.  She wants to get one thing…a candle. I said we were just at Target, why didn’t she buy one there?

And she told me this story:

When Melissa was 11-years-old, her grandmother gave her a small votive candle with red wax surrounded by glass that’s slightly burnt on the inside. It was one day after they buried her grandpa.

Fearing he would never find his life-partner, Melissa’s grandpa stopped by a neighborhood Catholic Church every day, put 25 cents in the rusty tin offering box and lit one votive candle to represent the hope that God would send him the woman he was supposed to marry. It was always the same candle…the corner candle in the bottom right-hand row.

The day after Melissa’s grandmother accepted his proposal, he stopped by the church and told the parish priest how God had answered his prayer. The priest gladly handed him the candle and he rushed to give it to his new fiancé. Melissa’s grandmother told her that tiny candle meant more to her than her wedding ring.

So that’s the candle we leave the storage facility with. On the way home in the car, Melissa cups it with both hands like holding a tiny bird that can’t fly.

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