Note: This is a fantasy story based on reality. It looks into a part of life that few ever experience. Keep an open mind and enjoy.
When they say, “Don’t judge by appearances,” they neglect to explain that sometimes that’s all you have to go on. What they should say, is “Judge based on the information you have but be prepared to change your mind, and don’t make assumptions,” but that isn’t so pithy. It’s difficult to avoid making assumptions though. I’ve certainly made mistakes based on my assumptions before, and others have made similar mistakes about me too. I’d like to think I am learning from this, but recognise that I’m probably not. It’s with this in mind that I’d like to tell you my story.
I used to enjoy using the gym; what’s not to like? There are the men’s muscular bodies on display, the endorphins giving you a good kick, the increased fitness and of course the self-satisfied smugness. It’s okay for a while but as soon as you drop off for a bit, it’s hard to get back into it, you get lazy and complacent and all those good intentions turn to mush, just like your muscle tone. And those luscious men in their sexy muscle-enhancing vest-shirts turn out to be complete arse-holes whose idea of sexual prowess is imitating their favourite idiot porn star. On the subject of porn: guys, don’t get your sexual education from internet (or almost any) porn. Most girls don’t like anal or facials or the ‘money-shot’; that’s just a porn-industry trope that has nothing to do with real sex, and is pretty disgusting. I’d like to think there are enough men out there who feel the same, but I’ve not met many any. There’s an old joke told by men. It’s meant to be ironic but it might as well be true. It goes: “Q: How do you make a woman orgasm? A: Who cares?” Ba-bum tish! There, my sex life in a joke.
Feeling the need to get some much-needed exercise, I decided to start using the gym again. As expected it was the usual collection of muscly self-obsessed Adonis wannabes, their collection of devotee bimbos, and the earnest but uncommunicative treadmill-pounders. What the hell, I thought, I don’t necessarily have to engage with these people; just do what I need to do, get some exercise and go home.
First, though, I needed to actually get back into the swing of things. So I set to, doing my best to get this travesty of a body back to where it was. It was hard work. Running on the treadmill was harder than I remembered; I was sure it had been easier than this before. I was evidently out of shape. Using the weight machines was no easier. This was going to be a battle of mind as much as body. But I persevered and even became less jaded about it all.
Working out in the gym can be a mind-numbing affair. The music they play is never to my liking so, like most others, I donned headphones and listened to my preferred music, or an audio book. But that can be isolating, and I’m a bit nosy. Sometimes I would try to engage people in conversation, but it was rarely very stimulating. So I did what I came here to do; work hard on getting fit.
Depending upon when I went to the gym, there would be different people there. I didn’t keep to a hard and fast regular time-slot; I just went when I could, depending on when I could get out of work and what my social calendar was like.
It was Monday. Mondays could be pretty busy, so I had to grab whatever equipment I could, or else wait around. As I was waiting for a tread-mill, there was this guy who got my attention. He was really good looking in an inexpressible way that just grabbed me. He might not have had what many consider classic good looks, but he certainly had something that I liked. His hair colour was a mixture of red and brown, so inevitably he was somewhat pale of skin and slightly freckled. This is something a lot of girls don’t like, but it looked great on him.
Perhaps it was the way he carried it all with confidence that made him so attractive. Everyone seemed to know him and like him, and he was always there with a funny remark, quick to laugh, with a sparkle in his eyes. And people just liked him.
He had a good physique in an understated way. Bulky round the chest but his best physical feature was his arms. They were bulky, like thigh muscles. He had wonderful forearms. I love good forearms. Perhaps it’s a fetish or something, but whereas a lot of girls like nice abs, or nice pecs, a nice bum or nice legs, I like nice strong arms, especially forearms, preferably without tattoos, of which he had none.
I think my arm fetish came about when I had a boyfriend who rode a motorbike, and gathered with all his other biker mates at weekends. It was great fun hanging about with them. The thrill of riding pillion, with my man between my legs, the beat of the engine, was something special. I was pretty young back then, still a virgin. He was really respectful and didn’t push me to sleep with him before I was ready. Sadly we never did consummate our relationship before his bitchy ex-girlfriend came and fucked casino siteleri it all up for us. All these bikers had firm, muscular forearms, presumably as a result if hanging onto their handlebars all the time, squeezing the clutch, screwing the throttle. And there were some pretty fit looking lads amongst his mates. He was the last boyfriend I could honestly say would have made me happy. Happy days. What a pity.
Being fixated on his lovely, smiley face, his strong sexy arms and his natural charm, I’ve omitted to mention a prominent feature because it was, in a way, irrelevant.
I watched his sparkling smile as he laughed with a couple of the his mates as they helped him onto one of the weight machines, moving his wheelchair out of the way before he started lifting the heavy weights. I was sat in a prime position to watch his powerful shoulders flex. He was working hard at it with some determination. I found myself staring and took a deep breath as my heart thumped a little harder. He was quite a turn-on. When he’d finished on that machine, he signalled to his mate who brought his wheelchair back and I watched as he lifted himself easily across into his chair with those great arms. He moved about the gym with smooth, graceful movements in his thoroughly minimalist and stylish wheelchair. It was as if he didn’t even notice that he was in a wheelchair, so I virtually overlooked it myself. He was treated only with respect by the other gym-users. I watched him doing chin-ups on a lowered bar, lifting himself clean out of the chair, putting himself unerringly back into position.
I smiled to myself. I needed to get to know this man, and soon. I didn’t approach him that day, but I came in the same time the next day in the hope that he’d be there. Sadly, he wasn’t, so I half-heartedly went through my routine, thinking about him, his lovely face and his sexy arms.
When I wasn’t at the gym hoping to catch my quarry, I was finding out a few things about what it was to be a wheelchair user, and what kind of thing might have caused it. I took to lurking on forums where people with spinal cord injuries discussed all sorts of things. The wonders of the internet: connecting people of all sorts, breaking down barriers all over the world. Some of the discussions covered very personal matters. Some would make you blanch. The humour was irreverent and sometimes delightfully dark, with lots of in-jokes which, if you spend time reading the posts, you start to appreciate. People with spinal injuries can have all sorts of added problems, and a lot depends on where the injury is, how high up the spine the injury has occurred. And the term injury doesn’t just mean as a result of a break; it can be because of a bleed in the cord, or because of inflammation caused by the immune system; all sorts of things. I didn’t know what caused this guy’s paralysis, but I wanted to understand as much as I reasonably could, and my ‘research’ took me down some interesting rabbit-holes and gave me some interesting insights.
The next time I saw him was on Thursday. I watched surreptitiously, trying to formulate an approach plan. He wasn’t able to use all the machines, obviously. He ignored the tread-mills and bikes, and the rowing machines were no good for him as they were too low and were designed for use with legs as well as arms. He did, however, use an arm-bike. It was when he was using the arm-bike that I made my approach. I stood watching for a little while, as though I was waiting to use the arm-bike. He was really going at it, and the mechanism was groaning with the power he put in.
“Hi,” I said cheerily, when he finished.
“Hi,” he said with a big smile. I was happy to be graced with such a smile, but he was free with his smiles, so I was far from exclusive.
“Am I able to use that, or is it just…?” I asked weakly, thinking it might be for disabled people only.
“Certainly!” he said, “Here, we just need to adjust the height. I’m a folded short-arse,” he said, good humoured, self-deprecatingly.
“I’m not sure I’ll be able to do it very well. I haven’t got your strength.” I was being unrepentantly flirty. “What setting should I try? Shall I try it on your setting?”
He laughed. “Go on then. If you shame me I’m leaving here never to show my face again.”
He programmed it and I started. Once I got started, and the machine gathered momentum, it was quite easy, so I got going a little faster. What I didn’t know was that he’d been using a profile program, designed to vary the effort. Before long I couldn’t move it at all and gave up, laughing.
“You didn’t tell me I was doing the mountain section of the Tour de France!” I complained, laughing. He laughed and changed the setting and I took it more leisurely. We chatted as I pedalled.
“I’ve not seen you here before, until the other day, that is,” he said. So he noticed me! I thought.
“I used to come a lot, but then I got lazy, and flabby. I’m trying to muster some self-discipline to fight back.”
He slot oyna looked me up and down. “Hardly flabby…” he said, looking down at his own ill-toned abdominals. He probably had problems exercising his abs if his injury was above that level.
“You’re too kind, Sir,” and I mock-batted my eyelids at him while still pedalling half-heartedly; my real attention was on his cute face and sexy arms. “You’ve got good arms. Is that from doing the weights or pushing your chair?” I asked. I suppose reading the forum had taught me not to be embarrassed about being direct.
“A bit of both. I work my arms here to keep fit, and it makes pushing the chair that much easier. I also have a hand bike, so that helps.” I had seen these hand bikes online. I imagined him cutting quite a figure on one of those.
“Do you do it to race, or is it more of a touring thing?”
“I’ve done a few races. I didn’t win; you have to be pretty serious about it to really compete. It’s fun when I do it though. Otherwise I just get out and about, see how far I get.”
My program finished with a beep. He said, “I’m going to do another spin on here, then I always need a coffee or something to recuperate. Care to join me?”
I was mightily pleased and keenly nodded my assent. I watched him a little longer then indicated that I was going to do some sets on the chest press (or tit-lifter as I sometimes call it).
“I’m Josh by the way,” he said as we settled at a table.
“Eleanor,” I replied.
“I like that name. Pretty,” which brought a shy smile to the girl who’d hated her name for years.
“Smooth talker,” I laughed. He smiled a sweet, heavenly smile, dimples and all.
We carried on with the small talk, with me probing gently, trying to find out if he had a girlfriend. He was more direct, asking me straight out and when I answered in the negative, he said, “What’s wrong with this world? I felt sure you would be attached.”
“Nope,” I assured him, “I’ve had one or two boyfriends in the past. Didn’t work out.”
He looked at me for a moment. A long moment, but that could have been just my own perception. Then he smiled and looked down. I wondered if he was about to ask me out. He came across as a very confident person, but maybe he had some insecurities. I might have supposed that someone in Josh’s position would lack confidence, being in a wheelchair and all, if it wasn’t for his apparent poise. Then he looked at me with understanding and said, “Yeah, it’s horrid when that happens. It’s sometimes tragic; sometimes for the best.”
“The latter in my case; I have no regrets there,” I said with a smile; I didn’t want to come across as a sad case.
“As good a reason as any to hit the gym though. Or hit a punch bag if that’s what you want,” he smirked.
I laughed. “Nah, all water under the bridge,” I said. There was a pause.
“Right,” he said suddenly, “I’m going to do another hour or so then head off. What about you?”
“I’ll do a bit more yet.”
We headed into the gym again, talking as we went.
“What days do you come in?” he asked.
“Whenever I can get in. You?”
“Mondays and Thursdays usually. Sometimes Saturdays,”
I smiled and grasped the nettle. “I’ll see you Mondays and Thursdays then, sometimes Saturdays.”
“That would be good,” he said, apparently sincerely, lighting a secret little light within me.
I waited eagerly for our next encounter, just a few days hence. Thinking about this, fancying a man in a wheelchair, it was both odd and totally natural. Odd because if someone had asked me whether I would go for disabled man, I wouldn’t have been able to answer but I would have been doubtful. But totally natural because in fact the disability hadn’t even come into it; I just fancied him — simple! And why should the question of disability enter into it? It just means that this is a man who happened to be unable to walk. The rest is perception and stigma; our fear of being associated with someone who is perceived as being somehow different, somehow less. Josh, though, transcended that as far as I was concerned. I barely saw it, and if it occurred to me that there might be a problem, in my mind I was able to resolve it; surely it wouldn’t be insurmountable. Was it just because I fancied him? Or was it because he allowed me to see past the disability and see a real person, perhaps because of his presence?
When Thursday came, I looked out for him, and waited, and did my exercise routine, and waited, and waited. He didn’t turn up. I was so disappointed. It did occur to me that this might be my fault, that I had said something wrong, or he didn’t fancy me and was uncomfortable that I had been so obviously doe-eyed. That didn’t make sense though, once rationality set in. I decided to throw myself into the work-out, get it done, and go home. I would have to wait until I could see him again. I would also have to calm down. I didn’t want to come across all desperate.
“Hey slacker, what happened to canlı casino siteleri you?” was my opening gambit, but I was all smiles.
“‘Slacker’ is it?” said Josh in a fake Welsh accent (for some random reason, but it was amusing), “Did I miss much?”
“Well,” I said, “the lady over there bought us all donuts laced with laxatives, the old geezer there did his first four-minute mile followed by a celebratory break-dance, and the young lady there took off all her clothes and offered sexual favours. I was first in line for that. Then the laxatives kicked in and all hell broke loose. Other than that, dead boring.”
“The old man does that every time; he’s a show-off off. Did you miss me?” He’d dropped the Welsh accent.
“Absolutely. The place was surprisingly quiet. People actually worked hard! I lied about donuts by the way.”
“And the rest of it was true of course. Are you saying I have a disruptive effect?” he accused. You do for me, I was thinking.
And so it went. We did work out (honestly) but it was punctuated with bits of banter. I loved it. We did the arm bike again. I worked at it this time, beginning easy, then pushing hard up the ‘hills’, easing off, then pushing hard again, before doing the final work-down. When I came off, my arms were limp. When Josh went on he really put some energy into it while I looked on admiring his gorgeous body and thinking about how I was going to ensnare him. We went for a coffee again after the arm bike. We chatted about things and laughed and joked, none of which I remember now.
Then he asked me, in his usual light manner, “Do you have a bike?”
“Yeah. I’ve not used it for a bit though. More laziness.”
“Is it fit to use, say, tomorrow?”
“Should be. I’ll check it over. What have you got in mind?”
“We could head over to the waterfront and have a bike ride.”
“Sounds like a good plan.” I loved it. I wondered if he was effectively asking me out. Didn’t matter; I was getting to see more of him, and that was a result.
We met up at a car park by the shore the next morning. Josh was already set up and waiting on his bike. His bike was one of the best looking bikes I had seen. It was low-slung, a bit like a recumbent bike, but with crank-handles used by the arms to propel it. I’m not mechanically minded, but it looked like a great machine. He did indeed cut quite a figure on it.
“Wow,” I said, enthusiastically, “I like it! That’s so cool!” He beamed a big smile and did a pose.
We made a slow start so we could chat as we rode. I could hardly take my eyes off his arms working those handles, his biceps flexing sexily, his forearms bulging as they grasped the handles. I was still looking appraisingly at him when he turned round with a questioning look. “What?” he asked.
“Nothing,” He had caught me by surprise. I had to think quickly. “Just watching you work the handles. The handles work together instead of alternately. They’re different from a bike.”
“Yeah, I think it gives more power, and better steering.”
“Is it hard, pushing with your arms?”
“It’s harder than using your legs, especially uphill. It can get really hard uphill. That’s why I suggested this place. You would be leaving me mile behind otherwise.”
We continued riding and talking. He got some looks from people watching him on his bike. It was the kids who commented most. “Cool! I want one,” was a typical comment. I could understand that; it was an unusual bike. Adults are more reserved, or polite, but the kids just come out with it. I wondered how it might feel to Josh, drawing such attention. He didn’t hide from it; he would often respond to a comment, or smile his big smile.
Come lunch time, we stopped by a sandwich shop. I went in to get the sandwich and drink while Josh waited outside. When I came out he was talking to an elderly gentleman about riding the bike. We hung around, eating lunch, and then Josh asked, “What have you got planned for tonight?”
I paused for a moment, and then went for it. “Oh, I’ve got a hot date.” I said with a smile.
“Oh?” he wondered.
“Yeah, lovely fellow I met just recently. Nice smile. Good arms. He’s going to ask me out,” I predicted.
“He is? You’d better not disappoint the poor fellow.”
“Where’s he taking you?” he wondered.
“Not sure. There’s a nice little Mexican in town. Level entrance too,” I said. I had done my homework.
“Sounds ideal. And when would you be meeting this delightful chap?”
“I dunno. Perhaps about seven.”
“Perfect. He’s a lucky man. I envy him.”
“That he is,” I joked, “very lucky.”
We started riding back. It was such a lovely day; perfect weather and lovely surroundings. The wind blew refreshingly onto the shore, throwing little wavelets up across the estuary. The place had taken on a magical quality since Josh and I had arranged to go out. Josh had gone a bit quieter, almost shy, but happy. This was an interesting quality to see in one so gregarious.
When we got back to the cars, Josh had to get back into his wheelchair. It was a bit involved. He had a bit of a frame to lift himself high enough that he could get into his wheelchair.