The Dojo

I stole my yoga teacher Michelle's wallet because she was stupid enough to leave it sticking out of her purse for me to steal and because I think there are hard lessons about the real world besides remembering to inhale and exhale that can be taught inside the dojo or whatever the fuck they call it. There was two hundred dollars and a bus card in her wallet and the next day I rode the bus back to the dojo for free and used her cash to buy an unlimited monthly yoga pass.

"I didn't think you liked coming here," Michelle said to me. "You kept saying you hated it."

The real reason I kept coming back here was because Evelyn, a pretty brunette who I semi-stalked occasionally came here to decompress from me semi-stalking her. Evelyn had recently changed apartments and phone numbers and the yoga dojo was now my best chance to locate her.

"No way," I told Michelle. "It's the exact opposite. I love coming here."

I'd stolen a pair of light blue panties from Evelyn's dresser and now whenever I went to yoga I carried these panties in my pocket to help me achieve Zen or whatever it was called. Sometimes I pulled them out to wipe the sweat from my forehead. The panties were silky and they didn't do much to sop up perspiration, but I used them anyway. I was waiting for Evelyn to show up and see me wiping my brow with them. I thought she might get a real kick out of that.

After class that night, Michelle was outside, smoking.

"Are you supposed to be doing that?" I asked. "Isn't that against your teachings or something?"

Michelle had extremely long arms. When her hand was at her side it took her forever to get her cigarette up to her mouth.

"I was really off my game tonight," she said. "I totally fucked up the tilted crane."

She flicked her cigarette onto the sidewalk and then immediately lit another one.

"Are you okay?" I asked.

"Really bad week," she said.

The next day Michelle was not at class.

"Where's Michelle?" I asked the sub.

"She called in sick," the woman said.

Since I had her wallet, I knew where Michelle's apartment was. After class, with the last of her money, I bought her a bouquet of tulips.

"How did you know where I lived?" she asked.

"That's not important," I said, holding out the flowers.

I had given women presents before, but usually they were presents that they did not appreciate. This present, though, something felt different. It was like these flowers had pulled our two worlds into alignment, and now she and I were cosmically even or whatever it is people say when something like this happens.

Michelle wrapped her long arms around my neck and pulled me in tight. "This was so sweet of you," she said.

"Really," I whispered into her pretty ear, "it was nothing."

About the author:

John Jodzio is a 2009 recipient of the Loft-McKnight Fellowship. He has had stories published in One Story, The Florida Review and Opium as well as a number of places online. He was recently awarded a Minnesota State Arts Board grant to finish a collection of short stories titled If You Lived Here, You'd Already Be Home. He lives in Minneapolis and occasionally updates