|WHO IS J BRIDGE -|
AND WHAT EXACTLY DOES 'J' STAND FOR?
ph. HEIHEI YAU
The shoes were funny (category: weird). I felt like I was walking in high heels - except the heels were down the front. These "heels," I would later find out, were designed to secure me onto a bike. I will not fall off. Rather, it is hoped I wouldn't. And in case I did, I would surely take the bike crashing down with me.
"This is perhaps the trickiest part," grunted one of the trainers after helping me hoist myself up onto the saddle. "It's a bit of a learning curve, clipping your shoes to the pedals."
I slid my right foot back and forth, forth and back along the right pedal - nothing. It felt like rubbing the surfaces of two, smooth rocks against each other. After what seemed like an eternity, I heard an onerous "click!"
"Hear that click?" the trainer beamed. "Now, do the other side," he instructed. He then left to let me figure things out on my own while he helped other people click themselves in. "Click!" - my left shoe went, sending chills from my ankles, all the way up to my calves and thighs. That sound had the crystal-clear finality of handcuffs clicking on to the wrists of a law offender.
I am a health offender.
I eat too much, whenever. There's no rhythm to my feeding schedule; why would there be? I have abused my body far too long. I ate and drank years of my life away without offsetting my mind-boggling calorie intake with a reasonable amount of exercise. Exercise is painful, I reasoned. Why would I, as a reasonable adult, willingly subject myself to pain?
Until J Bridge came along.
Bridge is a dear friend and my personal trainer.
I first knew him as a candidate for Mr Gay HK 2012. He finished in second place, promptly flooding my phone with emotional messages. If I was impressed with how quickly he sculpted his body into competition ready-ness (he is either criminally disciplined, or just genetically better than 99.9% of humanity), I was even more impressed by his unbridled unmasking of pretentious civility. He was hurt and confused and angry and in denial and dammit, he had to make sure I knew it, too!
The next morning, he showed up on my junk boat - back to being the charming, effervescent, fun-loving Bridge I pegged him to be. There was a moment of sheepishness about the previous night's events but that's just what it was - a moment, nothing more. I was quadruply impressed with his radical resilience. Had I been in his place, I would have locked me up to wallow in a putrid pool of self-pity. And I don't need nobody's help locking me on to some shiny, new bike pedal, either!
He was sent to Hong Kong as "Elder Hudson," way before gay Mormon missionaries got to be kinda cool. He learned Cantonese as a function of his mission.
"Jonathan," he smilingly introduced himself to me.
"Jo-Na-Than..." I counted in my head. Three syllables. It evoked images of crusty, old, Hebrew dudes - the kind that spoke to burning bushes or stroke pestilence upon a nation. "Middle name?" I asked hopefully.
"Bridge," he exhaled, the 'b' and 'r' consonants purring into a languid, palate-caressing 'idge.'
I was hypnotized.
"Jonathan Bridge. You can call me Jonathan. Or Bridge - I don't really mind..." he must have gone on for quite a bit, as though he needed to reassure me that it's really, really, really OK for me to call him anything.
It wasn't just exhalation; it was a sigh.
"I like it," I announced to no one in particular. Suddenly, I was inspired to compose his profile on Mr Gay HK's online voting page.
By the time he got up to the microphone to say why he should be the next Mr Gay HK, any edge of an accent had been sandpapered into fluid facility of the language. There could not have been a more incongruent sound to come from a young, six-foot-plus, strawberry blonde stunner. He won the audience over that very instant. He takes to the stage well, I thought, like he had been doing it for years. Any image of Elder Hudson had been effectively flushed from my memory bank.
After Mr Gay HK, Bridge and I kept in touch in my capacity as a marketing and PR clown. He edited the English edition of a tourist publication. He fit so well with media types, I thought then. Articulate, able to express opinions that people understand and relate with, honest, but sweet and nice.
He did some modeling, too, which seemed to get a lot busier the more he hung out with the party set. Could he be the gay Paris Hilton of Hong Kong? Someone who strike people as a ditz - until they find out about her hit single, a best selling line of perfumes, and the fact that she gets paid to party. Isn't that funny (category: annoying)?
I saw a different side of Bridge through my dear friend, Angie, a devoted vegan brainiac who blogs, models, produces films, and is an all-around poster girl for alternative lifestyles. Bridge got along famously with that feel-good, self-loving, hippie, New Age-y crowd, too. Not long after, he had completed the kilometric paperwork attached to adopting an abandoned puppy.
I don't any more remember how we got talking about him taking me on as a client. I don't even remember how he got started as a fitness trainer, much less why. He's just a chameleon. And he's everywhere, all at once. And at some point, the omnipresent chameleon must have happily traded his editor's pen for a... a pair of tights!?
The tights had reflectors on them, too.
I was in XYZ, a sex-tastic spin studio that's still so secret-secret at the moment, even Google's search lips are sealed. Bridge was doing his first class as a spin instructor, with real-people students other than his fellow fitness fem-bots.
Funny (category: strange) that I was extra-lucid in death, like I was experiencing everything with heightened awareness.
That's the nature of punishment, I philosophized. It makes you huff and puff and suffer. It causes your calves to cramp up. Escape is hopeless; your feet are locked in. Meanwhile, in front of you, Elder Jonathan Bridge Hudson is bathed in a heavenly glow of strobes and gobbos. Instead of verses from the Book of Solomon, he spewed remixes from the songbook of Mariah. I closed my eyes, promptly sending my entire body hurtling through a supercharged Fat Burn hallucination. How could it be that my feet were still moving, and together with the down beat, too, just like Elder Hudson said?! Holyfuckshit, I had turned into a machine!
"GURLIFUCKINGDIED!!!!" I shrieked after the class. My eyeballs were still vibrating from the intense exertion.
"But you got through it," Bridge pointed out helpfully, in that breathy, sing-song-y Bridge-y way of his. "And since you did this tonight, I promise we won't do legs tomorrow."
"Tomorrow" had me indulging in champagne facials (I swear I was with a client) before my scheduled training with Bridge. I texted to cancel. I was awash with remorse.
A few hours of pleasure, another lifetime in the fatties' penitentiary.
But who am I to complain? It's funny (category: unbelievable!) - last I checked, I had lost two inches off my waist and dropped to a size 'S' t-shirt at H&M.
If the J Bridge Crossing is on the path to skinny salvation, I'd be going down that road again.