As you might imagine, I set my alarm for 5 am, did some writing and then went for a run yesterday. I was not going to have a repeat of the day before, and besides, I had already given resting a real solid attempt.
As I took off running away from the dead end street I live on, I noticed three things: one, my legs were still extremely sore in all the joints. Two, my city was a ghost town at 6 in the morning on a Saturday. Three, the sky was pink and orange with the anticipation of a new day. I was going to see what I could do with it.
With nearly no cars to contend with, I decided to run a different route than I'm used to, mainly because the running was getting boring, and I wanted to run for awhile. On my new venture I could make it clear to a park, run a portion of the trail within it, the portion that was not secluded in the woods where I didn't feel safe by myself in the dawn's early light, and then run back home. I ran the way there with no headphones, listening to the bird song and talking to myself about how much I love to write and why I had been avoiding it.
There were three other men out running. I wondered where all the women were.
In the park I was honked at my several perturbed ducks, while I marveled over the fountain and how pretty it looked in the morning light and how soothing it sounded, even if the ducks were quacking at my rude disruption of their otherwise .
On the way back I listened to music and tried to tell my legs that they actually could keep going if they would just trust me. For most of the run I followed a man who was running way faster than me with his dog. He had flashing red lights velcroed to each arm, that blinked out in front of me in the distance like a homing beacon or a donkey's carrot.
Having reached my goal of running 45 minutes, I ended my run on my Nike App, pleasantly surprised to find it was my longest run yet, and walked the last half a block or so back to my house. I saw a bird in the open lot next to my neighborhood. The bird was ripping at a piece of clear plastic wrap that had been torn off a package of cigarettes. It got startled by my approach and flew off with the plastic, presumably to its nest. I imagined its nest being some modern day work of art, interwoven with colorful bits of trash, of which there was plenty to choose from in that open field. I wondered what would become of the bird and his creation once the property sold and the development started. I wondered if all the field mice would end up in our home. They had to have a home.
I turned the corner to my dead end street and walked down the middle of the road in big long strides trying to stretch out my ankles, arches, knees, calves and hips. There was a bird sitting on my fence singing a very distinct song. I tried to whistle the song back, though my whistling skills are second rate. The bird looked at me, turned its head to the side, whistled its song again and then flew into my backyard, as if to say, "I dare you to follow me." I didn't take the bait. After all, I highly doubted his little game of chase was going to end me at a bottle of Ibuprofen and a tall glass of cold water, and I had plans for that.
Inside Tony was awake and doing cycling laundry and shoving stuff into his race weekend bag.
"Good morning, Love," he said to me as I swallowed 2 Ibuprofen and tucked the rest of the bottle into the side pocket on his bag.
"Good morning. Do you have time for breakfast?" I asked, resting against the counter and feeling the flush of my cheeks and the throb of my legs. Resisting the urge to tell him I had just accomplished my longest run yet, because I wasn't sure he was in the mindset to really hear me or to cheer like a madman, both of which would be absolutely necessary at this point.
"I don't. I have to get going," he said reluctantly.
"That's okay. I just thought I'd offer if you were going to be here packing for a bit."
I worked on catching my breath. He worked on packing the last of his things and grabbing his laundry, and telling me the times of his races because he knows I like to know these things.
"I'm sorry I won't be there," I said.
"It's ok. I love you." He hugged me solid, sweat and all and I sighed, relishing the moment. One more "I love you guys!" hollered from the garage and then he was off.
My eyes watered. My nose burned. I'm not sure why that happens at the oddest of times, but it seems to happen more and more each day. I think it is my body going through the necessary motions of softening to this life.
The day from that point forward actually turned out to be far more restful than my previous attempt. My girls left for a slumber party. My boys and I went to the post office, where Luis the postmaster informed me with a grin that he would be on vacation for the next two weeks, and then we went to the park.
There was a big Easter party going on, and I assumed it was being put on by a church or a ministry because the loudspeakers were playing Switchfoot and someone prayed before they ate. The weather was perfect, the light breeze kept blowing my wrap off my shoulders, which made me feel pretty. My boys played nerf guns with other boys their age. No one fell and got hurt. No one tattled. (Okay, maybe once.) I sat and finally read through some of the final chapters of Julie and Julia with no excuses and had bits of conversation here and there with some other adults. My boys actually got tired of being there before I did.
We went home and parked our car and then went on a walk. Well, actually the boys rode scooters. I walked behind them and yelled out nervous and worried screeches until their eyes rolled. One of them had an ice cream gift certificate from school and the other one had a $5 bill from his Papi, so our destination was the ice cream shop.
The afternoon and evening were spent with the boys playing their new Wii game, watching batman cartoons and playing outside with their neighbor friend. I took a nap and drooled on my pillow and then finished reading the last 10 pages of Julie and Julia, celebrating it with the return of my watery eyes and burning nose as well as some chips with pico, wine and the night air on my back porch.
I thought about these two juxtaposed days of mine. The attempt at rest and the unexpected rest. I had thought about inviting some girlfriends over, but was glad I didn't because I really did appreciate being alone.
I thought about how strange it was that for a few solid hours no one needed me, no one was bleeding, no one was strangling another person, no one wanted me to make them supper or plan their activities. When they rushed in from the outdoors, I would jump and say, "What do you need?!" They would say, "Nothing mom, I'm just thirsty." When my phone rang last night with my daughter calling from the sleepover, I jumped and said, "What do you need?" She said, "Nothing, Mom. Victoria's mom just thought I should call you.
It made my eyes water and my nose burn.