I’m training for a marathon. My second.
Sixteen years ago I ran the Midnight Sun Marathon in Anchorage to raise money for a friend with Leukemia. My then six month old son was stuffed into a stroller and pushed by his Dad squinting and cheering me on at key intervals along the course. It was hot and interminably bright. Returning to the downtown Marriott, sitting in a bath of ice, the olive crushed velour curtains barely slice the luminous blanket of sun. Marveling at the power of my post birth body I wear the medal for a week.
This decades marathon is four weeks away.
The baby has erupted into a six foot teenager. The Dad cheers on his children from another house in another neighborhood with another girl. The race circles the Straits of Juan de Fuca in Washington State. The light is different here. Now.
Running is an endurance sport. Friday I ran fifteen miles-a mid level marathon training run. The route strides past universities, historic parks, green ways and city intersections. I pass couples casually strolling, intrepid spandex ensconced bikers and wired up students. Blue cornflowers dot the lanes of spring grass beside the path. At mile seven I pass underneath a bridgespan lovingly called the Wall of Death. Spikes thrust up from ground to ceiling. The city rises behind them. A young man wrapped in a fringed African blanket rises. His face is blank and pale even though his skin tone is brown. Emptiness flows out of his eyes as he rocks back and forth. Our gazes lock for one long moment. He shakes his head as I traipse by. His presence lingers like a ghost.
I wonder about his story. I wonder about the intersection of systems that have failed him. I want to take it to a Moth stage.
I wish the velour curtains could arrest the darkness.