Sunday, December 29, 2013


I knew this journey was going to be hard (I'm no stranger to training for an endurance event) but I'm surprised to find that the most difficult part about it so far isn't the training at all, but instead, the loneliness. Or, maybe that's due to the end of my relationship and maybe everyone who breaks up with someone they loved to the point of calling them their best friend goes through this awful sense of empty solitude.

I call it empty because I'm the sort of person who doesn't (usually) mind spending time alone. After all, my two dominant pursuits (writing and running) aren't very social activities. But something about this solitude I'm in now is different. It has sharp corners and, for the most part, it isn't very comfortable. I keep asking myself why that is: why I suddenly dread going home to the empty house that was always empty before. What's changed? To me, it feels as though there's something in the air which has worked its way into my blood, my mind and heart. I know that's not true, though. I suppose what has changed is me.

I remember those days when I expected him to call me, and he would. Or, if I was upset about something, excited about something, feeling elated or depressed or simply bored, I could pick up the phone and dial his number and he would be there for me.  And if there was something that happened (a flat tire on the bike, a garbage disposal with rocks in it because I decided to wash my running shoes in the sink, etc) he would be there, without question, to fix what was broken.

It's like somebody died, that's what this silence is like. Like all those memories are in the past now and it's just me here in this room, just me to fix what's broken, to fill the hours of my days with thoughts and words like I used to, trying not to notice that my phone no longer rings and there's no one in the world to say "I love you" or who cares for me-- at least, not right now.

I guess I'm thinking about this today because today has been mostly silent. I did my long run at dawn and watched the sun rise as I floated over the pavement, feeling about as light as a person could as I crunched over the old ice and snow in shady patches that has yet to melt. And tonight: I took the bike out at dusk to see how it felt under my feet now that it's been properly adjusted to fit my body. The sun sat low and pale in the sky, just hovering over the Sierra Nevada range as I rode West. It's a horizon I know well; a direction I used to associate with him since he lives in Tahoe City and I used to stare and those mountains and imagine sending my thoughts-- my love-- right over them, silent telegraphs lovers send.

But there's no more of that; the West is another direction among three others, arbitrary and relative. But then again, as I turn over my shoulder to glimpse the sky, I can't help but notice the vibrant hues of the sunset; the West is where the sun goes down, announcing night and the fact that I have survived another day on my own, a small victory perhaps, but one I'll have to master if I'm going to become an Ironman.

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