Sunday, September 9, 2012

Running On Empty

I could hear the siren grow nearer as I exited the hospital toward my car in the parking lot. "They're going to make it," I thought. Curtis's pager started vibrating after I'd been at the hospital for over an hour, and as he rushed to the ER, I took my time heading out to my car. We'd shared helpings of fruit and fresh gyros, chatting through the football game playing softly on the call room television. It's the last of several nights I have spent lingering at the hospital when Curtis has had a few free moments. After two weeks of night shifts, I am mentally finished. His fourteen hour shifts cross perfectly over my twelve hour days of teaching and coaching, and unless his free moments coincide with mine, we don't see each other for days.

We've been writing a lot in the book lately, sharing events and thoughts and random life happenings on paper rather than in the dark when we finally climb into bed. On Wednesday, after the epic wind storm, school was canceled because so much of the city was without power. Curtis made it home with enough energy to survey all the fallen trees outside before crashing into bed for much of the day. I cooked and cleaned and worked on projects neglected, and even though he slept almost his whole time at home, it was nice to be close by.

I couldn't help by notice how much these times of night shift remind me of college: hanging out in a common area on generic couches, constantly interrupted by people who may or may not walk through without interacting with either of us, dreading the inevitable separation at the end of the night where I have to drive home in the dark. Sustaining a relationship on sporadic visits ended suddenly with unpredictable pagers beckoning is work I dread. It is always exhausting--and not just because I inevitably go to bed later than I meant to.

This week we look forward to going back to "normal": long hours worked at the same time. And though I haven't accomplished as much as I would have liked in the last two weeks, I know it's because I was lingering over relationships instead.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Reckless Abandon

Taken at the state fair this weekend, the last time I spotted blue skies...

My hips hurt, and I am the only one to blame. Today I ran for an hour, hard, the first time I've done this in many weeks. It felt good, liberating even to pound out the miles as wind that had been forecasted through warnings all day whipped the birch trees of still-green and barely golden leaves, showering them on us even as the rain pelted our faces. I wore too many layers, an easy mistake when it's the first autumn day of running. I shed my pants, but couldn't leave my wind breaking coat, or my longs leeved shirt--even though I knew eventually I would get too warm.

Eventually I tied my coat around my waist, passing many athletes on the way out, sweeping the trails on the way back in, remembering corners and intersections I haven't explored in many months. I have so many memories on these trails, and my thoughts run wild with hopes and dreams and disappointments past and present. By the time we finished the wind had gotten worse and the wind storm predicted had fully shown up. As I drove home tonight my car was pelted with long branches still green with leaves, trails of rain whipped in the tail lights of cars like wet exhaust crossing the street with abandon. Now the lights flicker, the windows shift, and I go to bed thankful that I sleep just far enough away from the windows that the tree outside should not be able to maim me if it came crashing in.

Can I hope for a power outage? A day at home to read for pleasure, unencumbered with ungraded papers that I didn't even bring home from school? It's a long shot, but it might just perfectly complete an evening that was already beautiful--wind, rain, aching hips and all.