This One Time, 100

This one time I was running through the park on the track they’d put in around the athletic fields. I’d had in mind a specific number of laps to do and had a time to try to beat, but the sun was brutal out in the open and … nobody trusts the sun anymore. I’m sure people have had plenty of time to say what needs to be said about that, but it’s a crushing blow when something that has always been thought of as a source of constant unconditional blessings turns on you and wallops you. The sun has always been the one thing you can count on to just keep doing its thing no matter what. Sure as the sun will rise tomorrow.

It must be like what the first volcanic eruption was like, only without any warning rumbles. Without any smoking vents. Without … okay, maybe that’s not a good analogy at all. Maybe it’s like when you first learn about death. When you hear your first fumbling account from Mom or Dad that sometimes the people you love just go away and never come back, and then try to say that it’s just how things are, or stumble around the idea that they go to be with God and make you feel bad that they’d rather be with God than hang out with you and then say no, no, that it’s what God wanted and then you don’t much like God anymore and you say so and then everyone just gets upset and they tell you that you just don’t understand yet, but that regardless of how you feel everything will work out okay and you try to believe that so you can just stop crying but eventually it wears off and you realize that really, people just go away forever and that nothing about that will ever eventually be okay, that at best what happens is you learn to get by without them.

Sometimes the sun just throws a fit. Sometimes dad just comes home stinking drunk. Sometimes a good friend calls you and they’re in horrible trouble and you can’t get to them and they won’t do the thing that will help themselves the most and then you never hear from them ever again. There’s no reason you should have seen it coming. It just happened. Who knows? Maybe it’ll never happen again.

Run as fast and as hard as you can but you can never outrun that maybe.

I couldn’t handle being under the brutal sun anymore, just running in circles, so I cut off the side and headed for the sidewalk that led to the path through the woods. It was high mosquito season, but that just meant no slowing down. I was okay with that.

It’s easy to understand why people are so willing to bargain themselves away to prevent the pain of tragedy, telling God they’ll willingly give up having any fun, give up any particular blessing, swear to be good for the rest of their lives, if just, please, never let that sort of thing happen again. It’s like dealing with a spouse or a parent that beats you. You can’t be who you are without the love you have for them, so you bargain away the rest of yourself trying to appease them. But it never works. They never change and you just shrivel up to a lump of beautiful wonderful useless love, and we’re really not cut out to say whether that’s amazing or unbelievably tragic.

In the shade of the dense trees along the dirt path, the sun still filtered through in dazzling flashes like fireworks, like atomic fireflies streaking past on either side. It was impossible to see much of the path under those circumstances so I kept my head down and tried to watch out for loose rocks and sticks because I really didn’t want to slow down.

And I guess that’s it, really. The wind felt wonderful on my dripping sweat and the light through the trees was wonderful and the running felt wonderful and that’s what we’re supposed to do when there’s nothing else we can do — focus on what we can do, what needs doing, and try to find the wonderful that still exists, because what point is there in denying ourselves what little joys we are allowed just because we’re already afraid and miserable?

Maybe you can’t outrun the maybes, but you can outrun the mosquitoes.


April 10, 2011 · by xalieri · Posted in This One Time  


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