The plates were clean and the bar was nearly empty. The conversation had followed suit. The old friends, Jake and Vaughn, had reached that comfortable part of the evening when nothing much more needed to be said or caught up on. Instead there was a breathy silence which added more to the friendship than any of the years that they’d not seen each other.
Vaughn took another sip of beer and decided to break the silence. Not because it was awkward but because he had just remembered a story.
“Have I ever told you about the time I tested how much I could lift?” He asked with raised eyebrow. Jake raised both of his and laughed, “I don’t think you have.”
“I went to the gym and saw all these muscle guys lifting crazy things. I wondered what I could lift, so I sauntered over–”
“As one does.”
“As one does. I walked over and started looking at the weights. You know, that kind of look you give of ‘where to start?’ not trying to convey what I was really feeling ‘what am I doing?’. Anyways. I picked up two small ones that could fit one in each hand.”
“Oh right. Dumbells. And they lived up to their name. They were dumb. I could easily lift 1 kilogram in each hand. No problem. So I walked over to an alien looking thing that had a heavy part at the bottom and a smooth handle on the top. The handle was big enough to pick up with both hands. You know what I’m talking about?”
“I think so. It’s called a kettlebell.”
“How do you know all these names?”
“I’m a trivia genius. Anyways. How’d that one go?”
“Good. I could lift it no problem. Problem was I lifted it in a dumb way and I could already feel my back getting angry with me. I still pressed on. I was growing in confidence and walking towards the other big weights now. The benchpress ones. I had seen earlier how the guys slotted the weights onto them and then locked them off, then put them on the benchpress bench thing and then lifted the heck out of them. I put a few weights on, I can’t really remember how much, and put it on the holding part. I sat down and before I reached for it a muscle factory walked over and offered to help me in case it went wrong.”
“Spot you. Sorry. Carry on.”
“Yup, spot me. It was a massive push for me as I lifted it. It ached. It hurt. I could feel veins popping out of all sorts of places but eventually I got it down and all the way back up. I don’t know how much it was, but it was definitely the heaviest thing I’ve lifted.”
Vaughn took another sip of his beer and noticed for the first time how empty the bar had become.
“Then I sat up,” he told Jake, turning back to look him in the eye, “and breathed heavy. The guy helping me said well done and asked if I was going to lift anything heavier. Not in those words, but you get what I’m saying.”
“The words I used to reply were ‘I might’. Then I stood up and walked away giggling to myself.”
The silence hung again, this time Jake kind of shuffled his feet and seemed unsure on whether he was supposed to understand. He asked, “Is that it?”
“Don’t you get it?”
“‘I might’ like ‘I MIGHT’ like ‘I’M MIGHTY’. I was imitating him.”
“This is the worst story you’ve told all night.”