When will it end?* I came home on Boston’s Marathon Monday, a day that has brought me so much joy for so many years, and looked down at my sneakers. Their soles haven’t seen enough streets. I’m awfully fast, but I lack stamina. I enjoy energetic, short-distance dashes more than long-distance races. Of course, I do it. It just isn’t my first-choice activity. I’m not one to pace myself. And the truth is, after losing all of the feeling in my right foot and ankle from complications of a medical procedure, longer-distance running is not what it used to be. It’s awkward and uncomfortable and unnatural and even a bit dangerous, as my foot can tire out and rear off in the wrong direction. What an excuse. What a terrible excuse. At least I can run. My heart is telling me that I need to change. And I need to change now.
These sneakers, which fit like a glove, have touched many tennis and basketball courts, fields of grass, structures made of rocks, and stretches of dirt. But they rarely see the road’s rough surface.
I’d be least likely to lace up those sneakers at the late hour I return home from work. But looking down at those sneakers on Monday, after a long, testing day and a rough commute, all I wanted to do, before I attempted to lay my head to rest (though I got no sleep that night) was run. Run and run until my feet gave out, until my toes violently punctured out the top of the shoes and my heels scraped the asphalt.
I see there are events planned; compassionate folks will walk or run the distance that so many could not finish. But my call to run that night was selfish. I needed to run to survive. Because the day’s events tore at my belly, knotting it so tightly I was crippled at the waist. This is what I needed to uncoil it. I am usually so strong. Not this time.
Feeling wind. Experiencing the nature that we have the privilege everyday to roam about. Clutching community, sharing the streets with our innocent animal and human neighbors. Tracing with watercolor behind closed eyes the lines between ground and horizon and sky. It was healing. It was the ultimate declaration of freedom and all of its applicable definitions.
I haven’t sent out a single tweet or facebook status addressing the tragedy. Like I’ve said before, the girl who talks too much always has little to say in these painful, uncomfortable moments. Excuse the lack of eloquence in this post. But this is my city. This is my family. This hit hard.
But without breaking my silence, I don’t think I could go on. My only option was to vomit–spew words that don’t link together. Untie the leftover belly knots.
I want to live. I want to live if only to honor those who can no longer be. I want to run for those who can no longer run. I want to feel awkward and uncomfortable and unnatural and dangerous—it’s the only way to become whole and real again.
I want to be for Boston.
*And today, our Senate failed us. So, really. When will it end?