All the Time in the World (Biathlons, Death, Relapses and Other Sundries of Existence)

Today I ran a 5K for the runner’s half of a biathlon for the first time all summer. A summer of nothing, of not running or even exercising really at all, and I ran a 5K this morning. 34 minutes and some odd. And I felt, as I was finishing, like I felt at the end of high school and of journalism and of band and of choir and of and of and of. I felt like if I’d known how much I’d miss it once it was gone, I would have enjoyed it more thoroughly and poured more of myself into it while it lasted. So I guess the lesson there is pour yourself into everything.

Tomorrow I’m leaving my desert hometown and starting the three-day drive to Minnesota with my family, which means a lot of reading. I am excited to get out of town. Aside from going to Boise, the last time I left was to go camping with some bandies down near Bruneau, and that wasn’t very far. And the last time I left before that was, I think, for early registration at Pocatello. Which was in April. Well, maybe the difference is that this year I didn’t take a big-city school trip like I’ve done the last three. Either way, I have cabin fever like no man’s business and I will be excited for that, even if it means reading Shakespeare and John Green and Madeleine L’Engle for hours at a time. (P.S. that’s my idea of paradise, maybe with a little e.e.cummings thrown in.)

Speaking of John Green, for my birthday my parents bought me The Fault in Our Stars in SWEDISH, only it didn’t come till rather recently because Swedish postal service, I guess, but I’ve been reading it and although I don’t get every word I LOVE IT WITH ALL OF MY HEART and I DROWN IN THE AWESOMENESS OF IT EVERY TIME I OPEN THE BOOK and did I mention that it helped me discover what a wonderful place my front porch is?

I never knew it before, perhaps because there wasn’t a chair on my front porch before, but I went outside and sat on the rocking chair on my front porch and read John Green på svenska until the sun went down, at which point I discovered what a wonderful place my street can be, as I gazed out at the sunset through the maple trees and listened to my neighbors’ lit fountain in the dark. Water and light together is a beautiful union.

I have an irrational fear of learning to comp/improvise for jazz which I have been trying to face this summer and not doing very well with. I won’t bother to point out that this fear was and is sometimes intensified by the opinion (or threat thereof) of Matt of forgiveness episode fame. I have too many uses of ‘of’ in that sentence, and in this one as well, it would seem. Anyway, I’ve been trying to teach myself and not doing terribly well. Recently I approached him over Skype to say, “Hey, I have a music theory question, can you help me out?” and never received a response. I fretted about this for a while and even bugged Derek about it (bless him for putting up with all of my shit) and wondered why, if we had parted friends, he couldn’t find it in him to answer a question. I figured he would jump at the chance to offer knowledge. Most people do. There is the possibility that he hasn’t seen it, of course. Nevertheless, Derek pointed out, like good friends do, that Matt’s definition of friend may be different from mine and that “even good endings aren’t always the happiest.” And he is right. As I told Hannah, I have asked. It is up to him to answer. And if I never get an answer, I never get an answer. And that will just have to be that.

That said, I am not dreading the day when Matt fades away entirely. Not that I’m going to do anything to force the hand of time; just that I will not be trying to postpone it.

In other news, as my journalist self likes to say, the moon outside my window is beautiful tonight.

In still other news, Red who constantly amazes herself even after all these years (you’d think I’d know me by now) was approached by a guy not too long ago.

It was random, a message out of the blue on Twitter about college. Apparently we didn’t know that we were going to the same one. I knew him slightly from choir and not much else about him. But I do remember getting a slight flirty vibe from him most of the year, though I usually shut him down for whatever reason it was. I can be quite good at that. Anyway, I guess he figured it was no use pursuing since “oh we’re seniors we’re never going to see each other again anyway” and now we are going to see each other again and he figured he could make a more definite move. I don’t know. I don’t profess to be an expert on how men think (when they do, that is).

But the other day we decided to hang out and went up to Boise, and on the drive there I blundered into asking about his mom. And he told me, very quietly, that she died when he was three.

I was humbled.

And it reminded me of something.

Somewhere in A House Like a Lotus, Max and Polly are talking about how Polly doesn’t fit in with the kids at her school. She says, “She [Max] taught me to see that some of the kids who drank and slept around were lost and looking for something they couldn’t find.”

I won’t profess to know everything about my friend’s sordid history, wink wink, but I do know he has one. And I guess that’s what it means, to be lost and looking for something you can’t find.

It reminded me of a story in a book I gave away this weekend, where a graduating senior realized at a bonfire that a lot of her classmates and friends had endured pains she could not have imagined they had had to endure. She said, “Pain – I am learning – comes wrapped in a lot of different packages.” Or something like that.

It was hard to comprehend.

As Abby says in Certain Women (which I swear is the best book ever written advice-wise), “Every time I think I’m invulnerable, something happens to tell me I’m not.” I think you can twist that statement for everything. Every time I think I’ve mastered love with open hands, something happens to tell me I haven’t. Every time I think I’ve felt the greatest pain there is, someone comes along to prove me wrong. Every time I think I love my friends, a time comes later on where I know I love them more.

This evening as I was writing this blog post I said to Derek over Skype, “Hey tell me a story.” So he did, and right away I realized it was a parody of our lives. The heroine (me) was enchanted by an evil dark sorcerer (whose name Derek refused to reveal – I’m thinking it’s one of those things where the evil force just manifests itself however it wants, like in LOTR) and then a young scholar (Derek) and his ragtag team of knights (including Hannah) came and saved her. And the love, the love in this story, like a current under and throughout, nearly made me cry. I’ve said before and I’ll say again, “How lucky I am to be loved by the band.” It’s true. I am lucky to be loved by everyone who loves me, and they love me more than I know, and I should never forget it.

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