Monday, October 11, 2010

The Long Shadows

He ran because he knew he was going to die. Just finished watching ESPN's inspirational documentary about Terry Fox: An amazing story about a young runner with cancer not giving in and attacking each day.

I jump off the couch and dance into the kitchen. The dishes get an enthusiastic handwashing and are swung into the cabinets.  One the other side of the room, my girlfriend chops summer squash that was grown and donated by our neighbors. 

I feel a bit of guilt. Our neighbors are an elderly couple and every time I see the husband I hear, “Hey Jared, stop working so hard and come on over for a drink!” I always decline. I'm not opposed to the occasional day drink, but for some reason I never make the time to go visit. 

Dishes done, I quietly sip a glass of pinot noir. My girlfriend’s blond hair glows angelic under the soft hue of the track light. I sneak up from behind with a hug. Bob Marley croons in the background and the sun is shining, weather is sweet. We sway, discussing future, purpose and plans.

A few moments pass and a paw scratches my leg. Our dog, Esther, is feeling ignored. I leave kitchen duties behind and take her outside for tennis ball bedlam.

She chases with  intensity and focus, as if this were the last ball, the last jump, the last run.

After fifteen minutes, I slide the saliva soaked ball into my pocket and Esther knowingly trots back towards the house. But I’m headed out to the field and the long shadows.

Esther wheels around, realizes there’s bonus play time, and races to lead the way. The ball business is fun, but unleashed walks are wild. She runs with purpose, nose-to-the-ground, unafraid. Searching…

I sprint to keep up with her. The dry air burns my lungs, but I don’t relent. She occasionally glances up, seeming annoyed at my foolish red face. I stalk her until I eventually collapse, exhausted.

The cool ground comforts my throbbing head. Off in the distance, the elm tree's orange leaves flash like a fireworks charge and our house looks perfect…no lawn needing mowing, no running toilets, no regrets.

A wet tongue licks my arm...Esther's come to check in. She sees I'm OK, takes off again but abruptly stops a few feet away. Falling to the ground, she writhes around as if under a voodoo spell.

She’s rolling in horse shit. I let her.

We're losing light and the shadows are getting longer. 

Walking slowly home, I notice a lamp glowing in my neighbor's house.

1 comment:

  1. I took my neighbor up on his offer yesterday and shared a drink. We talked for almost an hour. What a funny guy and equally entertaining wife! I'm looking forward to visiting many more times.