As I plow through the miles on my run, my lungs are infused with that yellow gunk known as pollen. With the apocalyptic rain we have been having, everything is green. Flowers paint the ends of driveways and the neatly landscaped lawns are dotted with hues of purple, yellow, red and white.
The temperature is fluctuating and I feel like this is as close as I'll ever get to understanding what menopausal women go through. I miss my snow demons as my lungs fill with hot, sticky air. I wonder what the weather is in San Francisco.
I glance at my stopwatch for some reason. It's never good news as I round my half mile markers. Just shave off thirty more seconds. Is that too much to ask?
Funny, when I am in the gym, punishing myself (Okay, you got me - I'm Catholic), thoughts of the disease never seem to filter into my mind. Call it the pounding music - I guess it's hard to get all philosophical over Linkin Park's Bleed It Out. Call it the fact just being stone cold comatose at 5 am.
Running is somehow different. All five senses flare at once. Memories fight each other in a cacophony of color and hazed over thoughts. Worry digs in to battle the eventual endorphin high.
This time of year one is surrounded by beauty, change, growth and reminders that life is good.
Then you get a letter. It is from your chief guy in the big ugly building Time for testing. It is time to be sure you are clean.
Another damn hill. Why can't I make it look as effortless as those people I pass in my car? Their legs all springy and you just know they are passing mile marker ten somewhere. My god, sweat, will you? And put your freaking' shirt on - no one wants to see ripped abs. Geeze.
I feel good. I am good. I am strong now. Yet, I will gulp down a liquid with the consistency of wet concrete, and the odd sickeningly sweet, baby aspirin and KO pectate that coats your tongue for days, all for the one scan that will verify that I am clean.
Can I be sure? Never. Survivors have the widest and farthest rear view mirrors. Every ache is analyzed. Every lump is prodded. Be sure to eat your veggies and wear sunblock before you turn on your lights in the bathroom. No one outside of the circle understands but I am thankful they don't sometimes. Just sometimes.
Mix in work, writing, a nuclear seven year old and you have a hodgepodge of emotions roiling like Narragansett during hurricane season only not nearly as picturesque.
The hill is over and the neighbors beagle is yelping his head off. He's been zapped by the invisible torture fence so he's not going anywhere and I am pretty sure Stephen King didn't have a beagle in mind when he wrote Cujo. Truth be told, I am so tired he could latch onto my leg for all I care. I'd just bite him back.
I'm still waiting for the endorphins to kick in. You'd think I'd be addicted by now but more than likely I'd run into a telephone pole or get hit be a Beamer if I was an endo addict. Nope. All I have is that sucking sound coming from my mouth in an impossible attempt to breathe normally.
I look down. A good rule in running is that you shouldn't see your feet. If you do, you are striding too far. Not an issue with me. I was passed by a Santa once during a Jingle 5K. Not fair and not funny.
Can I be sure? Never. I know I am clean. It cracks me up to just say it. I often sound like a prisoner out on parole only I get shaken down by people in lab coats.
Questions. Questions. I am clean. I just have to prove it soon. Again.