Our bodies were made to move. Made to jump, to flop, to strain — to roll, to fall, to wander — but here we are, locked in and made to wonder, “When will it be safe again,” “When will we be safe again,” of each other, with each other, again.
The mats were blue. They were long enough to fit at least seven forward rolls during warmups, wide enough to fit five pairs for footsweep drills, though someone always ended up swerving last minute, either to avoid the pair next to them or the soft spots between the mats.
On Saturdays, sometimes six pairs could fit for rolling, with a corner coned off for drilling, and a rope laid down to mark the space for those practicing Muay Thai. “Don’t get too close to Muay Thai land,” was the caution if you didn’t want an errant knee to your head.
The mats were chilly in the winter, slippery in the summer. Enough give for us to dive recklessly, enough resistance to make us think twice, but still try again.
(When we say goodbye, the mat is damp, clean, shining in the sunlight.)