Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Getting up at 2:39 am seems to be a common occurrence these days for me. Waking up rested, alive, and aware that something is happening somewhere far away - it is an odd awareness, a sense of harried panic, followed by just quiet. At 2:39 in the morning, everything sounds different - the person sleeping next to you with the monotone inhale and exhale, the air exchange in the air conditioning system, the hum of the television set, the sounds of the house warming and cooling in the Autumn winds outside. Sleeping through 2:39 am would mean that I sleep through those feelings that something is happening far away -

I did a strange thing this morning - I decided to run. My sister's colonial house on a little street in Bethesda sits among diplomats mansions and doctors houses, and conveniently enough (imagine that - a trail run through one of the most prestigious zip codes in the Country - I wonder if they have trail runs through downtown D.C.?) next to a trail run that stretches into the District -Changing into my running clothes at 3:00 am startled Christy, but by now, it seems that anything I do is ordinary - and as long as I don't complain and make sure that the lights stay low and the sounds at 2:39 stay that way, then it is okay...

It was a hard run, the kind you feel everything, the legs burn - not just a little cramp, but as if you had been given a shot in every muscle and the doctor coaxes you by saying "You may be a little sore" as if to say - this really sucks for you. The cold air in my lungs was refreshing, it was damp and rainy, and the leaves stuck to my shoes in muddy clumps, but I ran. My arms got heavy at times, and then at times I could not feel my fingers or toes - the only way I knew they were there was through the dampness in my socks and too thin gloves. My eyes burned with sweat, but I ran. My back was heavy, at one point, it was as if every step was an electric shock, and it hurt and I told myself that it will get better, but I ran. I kept going for hours, I do not know how far I went, nor do I care to know, I know the dawn light starting breaking through naked trees, and bike riders on their way to the Metro started to populate the trail. I know that my nose started to bleed from the cold, and my stomach emptied its contents in a steaming heap onto the ground, but still, I ran. I wanted to keep running to see how far and how long and how much I could take before I could take no more - and physically, my body gave away what it had, but mentally, I ran - the sight of me must have been frightening to the early morning crowd, a blood and vomit covered thirty-seven year old in half light running and laughing and singing and crying - but I felt every bit of it. I wanted that run to last, and it did as far as I could take it - I ran until I was out of everything - energy, emotion, and time.

I walked back into a quiet house, and the sounds were still the same at 6:20 am, the same as they were when I left, no one moving except me, floating on adrenalin and resuming my place in the downstairs bedroom - tasting the bile and blood in my mouth, and the dried sweat around my eyes, but today I ran. I left the shovel in the field, and I ran.

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