Running

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tunnel-shaft-rush-blur.jpg, by r nial bradshaw on Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons

It never fails… It’s meant to be a chill morning, yet by afternoon it’s batshit in here. Am I a lightning rod? (Must not be discounted.)

This morning I took kids to school extra early so they could have fun on scooters before school. That’s fun when they are wearing their winter coats when it is below 40 degrees, which it was. I didn’t think they needed them. My poor children tried to have fun for me, truly they did, but they were so anxious to just get indoors.

I went home and waited for my friend D to text. We were having coffee and I upgraded our coffee around the corner to “let’s take the train to Manhattan and go to the good coffee place which is also around the corner from the optician’s where I have to get my glasses adjusted because for one week they’ve been sliding off my face.” She was game. And I was grateful to have a companion on the train – didn’t know how I’d do, especially at rush hour. (Fine.)

It was so good to see D. She came into our lives as a wonderful special ed teacher, who worked with Young J, all too briefly, years ago. She then wound up giving birth to her son exactly on the same day and hour as Young A, one year later. We’ve had a connection from that too. She helped out last time I was sick in the fall. She shopped for food for us this week. She is the ultimate good egg. She also has had a rough week with her 4 year old, so I was ready to commiserate and make sure she knew it wasn’t forever. Four wasn’t a picnic with my guys, either, so I could be a poster mom for it getting better. For once in ages I felt, somehow, useful again. This felt great.

We spent an hour having coffee, then headed to the glasses store, where I was in for a 20 minute wait for glasses adjustment. I found a chair, because I am now like an old man, living bench to bench. She had a good time trying on shades and used their fun photobooth. Then we talked some more. She needed to leave to get her boy, and I finally got my glasses adjusted – some kind of process out of the artisanal past. I heaped my adjuster with praise. She put them back on my face and I felt I’d been given a new face.

This buoyed me. I initially had been planning to go home, shove some food in my mouth and take steroids and sleep. Instead, I called J to see if he wanted to come down to get falafel with me at the city’s best. He did! I waited on a park bench across the street, freezing, until he arrived. Handsome as ever. My lunch date. The sandwich was everything.

I wended my way to the train slowly so as not to disrupt any delicate balance in my head. Stairs are slow. But I think I may have run a little, and found it okay.

The train ride home felt slow. With my meal in my belly, I was getting sleepy. Not a lot of passengers and I wondered if I should enlist one to make sure I wouldn’t miss my stop. I didn’t see anyone begging for that kind of responsibility. I powered through, then even more slowly walked up the stairs to exit.

My block, in sun. A lovely sight. But soft, what was in the doorway of my building? A missed package memo from UPS. DAMNIT. I had quite forgotten my cancer drugs were arriving today. They needed a signature. None of my neighbors were around (though it’s possible they wouldn’t have surrendered them to anyone but me). I looked up the block. Not one, but two UPS trucks. Double parked. I went like a madwoman towards them.

One UPS guy on our block is the legendary Johnny. He is devoted and never lets you down. The corner cafe has a drink named for him (which he doesn’t actually drink anymore since he went on a health kick). I knew finding Johnny was my key. If the trucks were empty, I’d check the cafe.

I saw some movement in one of the trucks. I picked my way through traffic and saw it was not Johnny. But I had to try. This driver was young, South Asian, seemed polite. He asked me for ID but did not make any promises. In minutes, he got my box, had me sign, sent me on my way. (Johnny, you are wonderful, but there are also others for me now.)

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I wasn’t expecting something quite so dramatic as this bag… but with that kind of hot pursuit? I’d say it makes the whole thing worthwhile.

You can listen to this song here now. I’ve lived it, and now I’ll be sleeping for hours. (With drug help, yes please.)

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