Rooted, I used to think.

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The Owl - Sunday, Nov. 07, 2021
Little Brown Bat - Thursday, Nov. 04, 2021
Running with Peter - Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021
Haunted - Monday, Oct. 18, 2021
The Half Marathon - Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021

Friday, Oct. 08, 2021 @ 10:51 am
Shoulder Season

This week, this season, has been difficult. A heaviness in my heart, an aching loneliness. I miss so many things that brought me into contact with other people.

And maybe an element of looming dread. A trip, this weekend, to Victoria. I haven’t been back in a long time, not since before the breakup. Have I even been since we lived there together? I can’t remember. Maybe once?

Earlier this summer, Russell signed up to run the half marathon. At first I dismissed the idea and imagined myself luxuriating in the hotel hot tub while he ran around in the rain all morning. And then time went by, and I looked at the route - all along the ocean, past the places where I used to live, where I used to run during the storms, the salt water falling onto my bare arms - and my heart told me to sign up.

And so I began to train. I increased my mileage, and by Labour Day I was consistently running more than thirty kilometers per week. My lungs grew larger; my legs grew stronger. The running, a balm to my anxiety, my loneliness. The fight against myself, the suffering.

The days growing shorter, the trees turning colour, the pathways filling up with fallen leaves. Vees of geese flying overhead. The light turning cool and wintery.

Pulling on an older pair of pants one morning and finding them fitting better and Russell asking me if they were new and putting his hand on my hip and kissing my ear.

Yesterday, I became tired of myself. The dull, quiet demeanor that I’d adopted. Reading silently in a dark room. Unreasonably anxious about work. Something shifted inside of me, so tired of being sad. And so I pulled on my wetsuits (both of them, layered one on top of each other) and crossed the road and walked straight into the goddamn freezing ocean. I futilely dove beneath the surface, immediately surfacing due to all of those layers of neoprene. The water so cold that I could feel my brain vessels contracting. Floating there in the frigid ocean, remembering what it is to be alive. The sun setting. The seawall busy with folks wearing puffy jackets. I emerge from the ocean and sit on a cold rock, shivering, remembering what it's like to live in the moment.

I leave wet footprints across the road. A salty puddle in the elevator. I stand under a hot shower and strip off the wetsuit layers. Fill my lungs with steam.

I dry off. Put on a nice top, my fancy earrings. Tie a ribbon in my hair. Crack a beer. Turn on loud music. Cook dinner - real food. It feels so good to be in a good mood.

Russell arrives home. He looks me up and down, and I can tell that he’s glad that I’ve shed the dull veneer. He kisses my cheek, tells me that dinner smells good.

Later in the night, we make love on the couch. The room is quiet and dark, and his hand moves across the curve of my hip. I’m not anxious or sad or lonely.

On Sunday, I will run the half marathon. I will run past the apartment and the basement suite and reclaim all of those places. Breathing in the ocean. The suffering of it all feeling somehow good. Because, somehow, through the suffering, I find a way back to myself.

Roots | Shoots