(and another new short story)
First, quickly: I’ve had a new story published called “Oh, how the world turns in the circle of a can.”
This is a short one, and, hopefully, funny. At least I made myself giggle while I wrote it. It’s about two men who work in two different landfills and how they compete with one another — which is another way of saying that their lives revolve around each other.
Another day of work in the can. Another day smarter. What a lucky job Bob has at the landfill. Pays great, feels great, and smells, well, it’s not just women that can’t have it all.
Two and a half months ago, I dreamed of going to Scotland. The potential future of it was so strong it infected my present. I was so awake I couldn’t stand it. The world tingled with possibility. I walked over a bridge to calm down, listened to a song, closed my eyes, and felt it.
This past week, I walked on the same bridge and listened to the same song.
What’s changed in two and a half months?
A lot, and at the same time, not very much. I’ve been many places. I worked a crazy job. But that’s all over. Today, I’m sitting at the same desk, rubbing gunk from the ears of the same blind cat. It’s a bit colder, but not much (not enough). Many trees have disappeared their leaves; where once my view was blocked, I can now see dogs run around a park.
I’m tired, yet tempted to join the dogs running in the park. I know, theoretically, that once I get going I’ll feel more energized. I’ve been running for a long time.
When travelling, Seth and I didn’t run very much. We walked and walked and walked. One day I wanted to run. But we didn’t have much time. We soon had to check out of a hostel. So I told Seth we should sprint.
Seth burst away and suddenly he was far. Meanwhile, I was running… faster… but not fast. It was strange. And kind of terrible. My shoulders didn’t know what to do. My feet didn’t hit the ground quickly enough. I wanted my legs to go faster but they didn’t.
When I caught up to him, he said, “But I thought you wanted to sprint?”
It was embarrassing but something clicked. My body felt alive in a new way. So I tried it again, and this time my legs went faster. Then we slowed to a normal pace, out of breath but relaxed… different. My body wanted it again. So I tried again. And, the next day, again. Now I’m still no great sprinter. But running feels better. My body wants more.
This is not groundbreaking. They call it “interval training.” I call it: body shock. I call it: go crazy for a minute, then remember normalcy.
Our cells are always multiplying and dying. If they stop multiplying, you’re dead. If they grow too quickly, you’re also probably dead.
So I’m thinking about balance. I’m thinking about how the mind feels after hard work. How it’s more open to the world.
I quit my full-time job a year ago. What’s changed? A vaccine in my arm, and a new apartment two blocks away — but the building blocks of my life remain the same. When I look back, I know I’ve accomplished a lot. Honestly, despite some huge challenges, it’s probably been the best year of my life. It’s so cool how once you have an idea of who you are and what you want, things tend to fall into place. These things were probably already going to fall into that same place, but you have a better sense of what to do with them. Does that make sense?
Maybe not. I’m kind of sleepy. It’s been a long, restful morning. The dogs from earlier have already left the park. Some trees are holding onto their dead leaves. And I’m still here, wondering when I’m going to run.
Elliephant of the week: Oh, how she missed us.