Authors note: A work of fiction, maybe, and in which the benefits of running are realized.
The setting: A warm March afternoon in your hometown. The sky is blue, clear and untroubled. The air is fresh with springtime optimism. It’s a day where one has no where to go and all day to get there. It’s that kind of day. Lights up and cue…
She looked worried as he approached.
” What’s up” he asked.
” I have to tell a story which is true. I’m struggling to process it and figure out what it means.” He nodded and she went on.
“I got a call from someone I had a serious falling out with 10 years ago and even now the thought of what I went through then makes me queasy and uncomfortable. I resolved that relationship was way over and I never wanted to even think about it again.”
” He invited me for coffee and I thought well, why not? Clearly he has something to say and I thought well, he reached out and the least I can do is listen to what he has to say.”
” And what did he say?”
” It was kind of odd. We didn’t talk at all about the thing that blew us apart. He talked about his life and where it was going, about his getting older and after a while I thought he was kind of apologizing for what happened way back when. But not really. It seemed he was unburdening himself and thinking out loud at the same time. I know he has people to talk to about these things but I kept wondering why did he chose me and why now.”
” So, after about five minutes when I figured out that this was mostly going to be about him I shifted strictly into listening mode. I was determined not to reveal much about my feelings in what I did say. I’m like that you know. I tried my best to be sympathetic but I just couldn’t cross the line to be genuinely involved. I guess I’m a terrible person.”
He let her continue.
“So I listened and listened. When I did offer feedback he just brushed it off and kept plowing on. After a while I started wishing that I was somewhere else. I know that much about myself and so when that I -don’t -want -to- be –here- anymore- feeling surfaced I looked for a way to excuse myself and leave.”
“I found a convenient spot in the one way conversation to exit and left. As I was leaving I thought – Buddy – you’d better get a journal or a shrink or a blog (heh, heh) and get these issues resolved without me. So much for my milk of human kindness I suppose. I’m not angry about what happened anymore – I just don’t want to deal with it. Maybe I need a journal or a shrink or a blog. Ha! I know that I left the conversation feeling unsettled and that shadow is still following me today.”
He thought for a minute and said,” Well, one day’s distance is not a whole lot of time to process what you experienced. I think that you should go for a run and clear your head. Running always helps when things get murky and confusing.
I have no idea why he chose now or why ever but it was important for him to speak with someone he once knew well and who knew him pretty well too. I guess he was looking for a safe place to land and you were it. You are a good listener and maybe that’s all he needed. You are not a terrible person.”
“Yes, really. I think you gave a lot of yourself in just listening. Maybe you are disturbed in realizing how much that opened you up yesterday and you don’t like that feeling. Go run.”
” You could be, could very well possibly be right about that. No, you are absolutely correct. Sometimes I’m too complex for my own good and sometimes I’m such a simpleton that I wonder how I made it this far. I can be a real idiot but yesterday I was trying to do the right thing and all I ended up with was a sleepless night and now I’m dumping all over you.”
” Not dumping, you’re talking and I’m listening. Big difference. Go run.”
” You know what? I feel as though I need to run, literally. Thanks.”