So, I am staying. And you have left. Not by choice. As philosophical as I am. As intrigued as I have been by the unknown. And as much as I’ve met up with the unknown. There are still no answers as to when? Or what this is.
I am not disappointed. I know what that is. I’ve been there before. Am I allowed to ask how long? How long do I feel odd? Well, it is usually not unusual for me to feel out of place. That’s the story of my life. Not belonging anywhere. Or when I do belong it’s in some obscure place, most others won’t go. Like a cage, a ring, running across a dessert in all its hotness of summer. Death is in the air. Yet I witness only the beauty.
Reluctantly at first you were. Only to end up wanting to run the ‘show’. I didn’t laugh to anyone but myself... And well, to God too. Keep in mind He made the giraffe. My bad humor, “Why the long neck?” You put up with. Yet, my impersonations and made-up characters, voices and such had you howling in hiccupped laughter at times.
Things we’ve done that defy the odds, I marvel at. Whether it being you running fifty miles at age fifty in less than half a day, while your single man crew (me), parks and runs through a wooded area with two children in a baby jogger to hand you a banana and check up on your condition. Or freaking you out as I ran alone in the middle of the night mostly within our state. Yet, many times not. “My wife runs with the saber tooths.” As you once had explained to someone.
Or the red carpeted running loop I made on the 25th floor of the Huantian Hotel, a five star hotel in Changsha, China. At first you thought it was nuts. Then I said, “It’s designed for you. If they won’t let women on the treadmill upstairs in the gym. Well, then I guess they won’t allow a man who is a feminist either… Plus the baby can see you run by our room. Right? And there’s no traffic. You don’t have to stow your hotel key, neither carry your passport.” You then asked, “Can you tell me what you’ve measured for an eight mile run?” Yes indeed, you did enjoy my invented and calculated ‘Red-Carpet Run’.
Other times, people queried of apparent dangers you allowed your wife to dance with. Knowing all along she knew what she was doing. As you told another ‘petrified for me’ parent. “She’s already met the big bad wolf.”
Then the times you’d yell in the middle of a couple of multi-day runs, that I’d organized for charity. “She’s come back from the dead!” I would not disappoint you and die. I’d wake up after a five or ten minute nap on the floor of a vehicle, requesting black coffee and “Please stand me up. I’ll be great.” Yes, the bell did not toll for thee.
As in any long-lived relationship, I just know we pissed each other off. However, there was no firing squad. No dashing it all to pieces. We’d witnessed others doing so. But we were the ‘Try Hards’. As our oldest perhaps knowing such would exclaim that.
We always scared each other. Mine started with, “What if…?” And yours’ was “I’m taking the motorcycle out. I got to get some riding in today. Okay?” You knew the answer always was “Yes”. Even the day I knew something tragic was about to happen to you. That weird feeling of absolute horror, sometimes called intuition. You saw me in action with that. And you’d ask, “How did you know that?” I’d shrug, and perhaps say something like, “I felt it. It was in the air.”
My perception of life has always been an altercation with disassociation. I am indeed intense. You queried after I came home with blood all over my face and running jacket, more than once. Your awe of “Oh myyyyy…Jody… Hospital…?” And my response, “I’ll bandage me. (a beat) Hey. The kids are covered today. I got in ten miles. I got dinner in downstairs fridge. I have class at seven thirty and then to go to work… I’m good.” I can still see those jaw drops of yours.
And the times you never realized what fight training truly consisted of. Yet, you pushed me into it. By the way, I knew you were afraid to tell others that was the truth. Yes, your wife. Me, did not ask to become a fighter or a grappler. But you begged me to go dive into a new sport at quite the late stage of age forty-six. I knew you had no clue what it entailed. Finally, after months of your begging, I acquiesced.
What you didn’t totally grasp... Was that you helped bring out my basement of who I have always been. I knew it all along. Which truly left for some major entertainment of hilarious moments. Like the times when my nose was broken. The kids figured it out, knowing you hadn’t. You just wondered, ‘How did my wife get two black-eyes?’ Watching your fascial expressions was loads of fun for me. Our daughters would giggle, realizing you had no clue. And when you finally caught on, you so wanted to do a public parody. My question, before going to shop with you… “Make-up? Or you want to pretend we are an angry couple?” Your response, “It’ll be fun. I love you. Let’s go.”
Some of these shenanigans opened up the debate of, “Pain isn’t pain. Physical pain is not that physical.” You almost fell off the computer chair with that remark of mine. I added, “I will prove it to you. Greg the PT want’s me to write a medical paper on my forgoing anesthesia for surgeries.” You shook your head. Yes, you the man with a degree, not just in Botany, Teaching/Math, Master’s in Critical Thinking… But as I was reminded much by you, also having a degree in psychology. As you had once remarked, “That’s why I married you.” Implying, that I was your life-long project. That may have been one of your excuses for marrying me. Little did you know this street-smart shiksa, was taking you and the rest of the world around with her for some kind of a ride.
To sum up this interlude of query. I do not know if I will be here for another ten years, twenty years, or an additional thirty-six years representing our marriage. Currently, I’m forging ahead on the dreams for our children’s futures that we would have shared together. I live each second pretty much in the moment. Even though, thoughts of diversions lie in the future. I’m still whispering, “What if…?” As I run, wash the dishes, look out the window in between writing, training, research, and meetings. Once in a while I pause, dissecting this interlude.---Jody-Lynn Reicher