A few nights ago I was out running with Kate. We were in the midst of a great run. We had both finally settled in (meaning our bodies had resigned to the fact that, yes, in fact, we are running) and the evening was just starting to cool off. Then, ‘it’ happened. ‘It’ being what we now refer to as The Fall.
Kate hit her toe on a section of raised sidewalk and everything slowed down. I saw my running partner do a layout onto the aggregate while my hand reached out and clutched empty air: “Kaaaaaaaaaaaaatttteeeeeeeeeee. Nooooooooooooo!” It should be noted that Kate was graceful in her fall. Very very graceful. She looked like this:
Except without the trapeze. As I watched her body slide against rocks and concrete I thought, Please don’t hit your chin. Please don’t hit your chin. Then, she hit her chin. And there was blood. Lots and lots of blood. A van pulled over and offered us a ride back to my house. Kate’s exact words were, “No thanks! I’m just going to run back!” She smiled and waved. WHILE BLOOD WAS DRIPPING OFF HER CHIN.
I made her get in the van. Kate gets in and begins to chat amicably with the driver (an older man with a white beard and a Yankees cap). WHILE BLOOD CONTINUED TO DRIP OFF HER CHIN. The driver then says, “I saw you girls running past my house about a block back. Then I saw you fall and I thought you had a heart attack.” This was perhaps maybe not the best thing he could have said. It was nice of him to stop and all but we both wondered, Geeze, did we look that bad running? Plus, he was saying this to two hypochondriacts who both have a very healthy psychosomatic connection. (i.e. -While still in the van we both began to contemplate our imminent heart conditions and how our partners would fare in the world without us.) Kate just smiled and started making jokes. If I HAD BLOOD DRIPPING OFF MY CHIN I a) would have been bawling and b) would not have been so nice about the heart attack comment. Kate did a joke about the Yankees and Red Sox (we are both Sox fans) and she did a few others which I can’t quite remember now. Mostly because I was concerned about THE BLOOD STILL DRIPPING DOWN HER CHIN.
The jokes continued at the walk-in clinic (which, by the way, Kate wasn’t even going to go to. Nope. She was going to just driver herself home.). The lady at the check-in desk asked Kate what was hurting her. She gestured to her chin and said, “Well, you know, this. And, oh, my pride.” Then a nurse practitioner GLUED HER CHIN BACK TOGETHER. Like with glue. Like to keep her chin skin from flapping around.
I don’t do that well in hospitals. Or with skin being glued back together. Which is why my running life flashed before me at the clinic instead of while Kate was falling. I remember us singing American pie to get through mile 7. I remember us jumping like maniacs through an invisible finish line when we completed a 10 mile training run. I remember our many running wardrobe malfunctions. I remember when we could barely run 3 miles. I remember during The Half when I was dieing, barely able to still run. Kate ran just ahead of me so I was in her shadow; she kept the sun off me. I remember how I have not finished one of our long runs recently. Fibromyalgia is having it’s way with me and each time I need to walk, Kate walks too. She says, “There is no ‘I’ in running. Only ‘We’.” I remember when Kate first said she was thinking of trying to run the Country Music Marathon.” My initial response was something about hating running. I may have even used the word loathe. But, the thing is, I don’t hate running with Kate. Running with Kate doesn’t drag me down. I reach our for it like a lifeline.