Here’s how people take a beautiful moment, sap it up, make an example, take out the guts, divinity, and leave banal, bored, magnet-for-refrigerator-wisdom.
I was running.
I was running, and it was hard. I was going uphill. I left the house at 12:44, and wasn’t sure If I’d have enough time to get back home, shower, and pick up my son. I ran to Prospect Park (1.2 miles) and kept going around the loop (3 miles), however, in the middle of that run (2.7 miles) I should have made a left turn. It would have cut the run in half (3.9) and gotten me home with plenty of time to shower, shave, and dress comfortable/yet hiker/yet poet (I’m starting a clothing line that will appeal to comfortable hikers who like poetry). I should have, but I said “no.” Literally I said “yes” out loud because when you’re running you want to be positive, and the sun was out, but it was cold and I had taken my shirt off (not a pleasant sight) (though not a horrible sight) (yet not an indifferent sight) (to everyone) (because I did pass three horses trotting by and heard “Anya”, then again but more urgent “Anya!” and beyond the horses was a young girl—in orthodox Jewish garb—way out ahead of her orthodox Jewish mother and father—who were staring at me (still without my shirt on) as though I was a heretic).
The young girl in the orthodox Jewish garb looked at me like a photo I once saw at Yad Vashem called ‘The Last March’ that depicted Jews going to the gas chambers. One looks to the future, one looks down, one looks at the past—all in their own emotions—but one looks at you. Right through you. I ran through that park, the sun, the lake, the cold, and the father in orthodox Jewish garb ran toward ‘Anya’ to avert her eyes but I ran through her vision, “Remember what has happened,” said Anya. “Never forget what has happened here.”
‘You got it,’ I thought, as I ran past the girl, past the dad, the halfway mark, the lake, the zoo, and on toward the uphill portion where you feel the bicyclists to your right grinding. They are standing on their bikes and pumping those pedals and I ran and just when I was about to give up I saw, in my mind’s eye, my son at school: alone, afraid, bored, banal, a magnet for refrigerator wisdom. What will all the other parents think? I had wonderful imaginary conversations where I tell them “you don’t know what it’s like to be reborn, what it’s like to win, to die, and win.” (Then I realize how crazy I sound, and am so glad I never have these types of conversations). You won’t make it. You won’t make it on time. You’re not doing a good job. You’re too old. You’re too late.
It’s over my wrist. Water. I look down, and I see a drop of water on my wrist. The sun is out, I was not under trees. How did this drop appear from the sky? I dig. I dig deep. I run, I am blessed by trees and plants and animals.
Now, if I were wearing a suit and tie and the drop of water came I would think something just shit on me. But running? It is divine. A confirmation I am doing well. I make a mental note to get that all down, and when I put my pen to paper the next day, I finish and read, “It’s not what falls that makes the person; It’s the person that makes what falls.” Cheap, banal, sap it up, take out the guts, wisdom for a magnet on your refrigerator.