Crab / by Vanessa Fiola

** The next 28 days I’ll be posting 500 words a day as part of a creative writing challenge. You can join the fb group here. **

Today I tried to cheat and pull a half-finished story from last summer about the time I thought I was going to get murdered by my Getty-image Airbnb host in Antwerp. I had been re-working and tweaking the story for over two hours to make it sound like I just came up with it, but also because it’s actually a funny story that feels like it should be told and I really wanted to finish it.

Being a liar is hard work.

So I had been trying to force the ending, neurotically checking my word count, and watching my almost two and a half year-old watch Dinosaur Train on his ipad while picking at his avocado sushi and it hit me—this was supposed to be the shortcut. I paused. What if, instead of trying to fake my way into a current story—oh! this funny thing happened six months ago hahaha and I just remembered it—I just wrote?

Tonight my baby (er, toddler) asked me to do yoga with him. He learns it at his preschool and comes home many days and tells me he’s doing downward dog. As a former yoga teacher, I can tell you his alignment is horrible. But it’s really cute and when he asks, I can’t refuse, so I moved into downward dog. He copied me, adding some flair with his left leg sticking up.

A couple of days ago I had a Body Mind Centering session with my friend Chloe. We talked for a while about my aversion to practicing asana. I’m so over talking about it and thinking about it, but the fact that I miss my regular practice, or, more accurately, the way it feels to really be in my body, keeps rearing its head. Chloe is a teacher’s teacher, and she tells me if I ever want to practice with her we can do that. I know it's for the best, but I suspect I’m too ashamed right now for the way my asana has devolved. Also I have this thing that whenever I hear the words I should, even when self-imposed, I stop listening. 

I told Jonah we were going to do plank, and I moved into the pose and exhaled a deep breath. Then knees-chest-chin, then cobra. I had intended up dog, but my lower back and shoulder blades felt otherwise. I breathed into the tight spaces and tried to let the pose expand and open. My breath kept getting stuck and I thought about the difference between effort and ease, the distinction between the two becoming ever more palpable.

I looked over, thinking he was right with me. Instead he was doing some strange malasana looking pose with his tiny index fingers pointing out and told me he was doing “crab pose.” He smiled and comically scurried around the kitchen in his weird half-squat. I don’t know what they’re teaching kids these days, but as long as he’s not counting his Instagram followers I’m good.