running

I must have been running more than I thought.

My legs and lungs were strong today, propelling me around the lake as the sun rose over my hometown, Oakland. The few runs and workouts I’ve gotten in while on the road for five weeks must have had more of an impact than expected. Or perhaps it was walking around Santa Barbara, Los Angeles and a handful of airports with a 35-lb backpack and a 15-lb bag of scuba gear that made me this strong?

I would have liked to cycle—working my way up into the hills in the dark and then flying home in the light. But my bike is far away, kindly held by the same man who holds my heart. So the journey home was less swift and exhilarating than it might have been. But I arrived back here anyway, the movement of my legs having pulled away whatever was masking the thin wall of hurt and anger I hold inside, around my more sensitive parts.

This homecoming is a mixed bag. I am both home and not home, in my own bed for only a few nights. I walked in at first and was surprised to see all of the familiar things: the couch draped in maroon, my floor pillows with a good story behind them, my books whose titles paint a picture of where my mind goes, the art that speaks my subconscious. All these things mine.

—Oh, I thought. —This is what it’s like to have a home. That’s mine.

I had forgotten.

I was laid off on October 23 and within a week, I was on the road. I call it my ADVENTURE (all caps) traveling to rediscover myself and be a little more free—for now or maybe forever. I’ve been in Portland (Oregon), the Inland Empire, Monterey, the Shenandoah Valley, Santa Barbara and the Channel Islands (on a boat!). Today is ADVENTURE, DAY 38.

My travel TRX and running shoes accompanied me on the ADVENTURE, and I burned many calories scuba diving in the brisk Pacific waters off the southern California coast. I have schlepped my stuff from hospitable place to hospitable place. It has been important to keep moving and incorporate a modicum of physical discipline into this wandering, easy life.

So perhaps I have, in fact, been running more than I thought these past weeks. Arriving home, I have been dealing with the cleanup after my absence—unpacking, sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, washing, laundry, putting everything away where it belongs from where it’s been misplaced. And I feel the urge to move swiftly in my body.

Swiftly, though, away.

Because being back here, where little has changed, makes me wonder what. the fuck. I’m doing.

I have a cacophony of expletive-filled questions ready to be shouted from behind my heart and ringing between my ears. They all point to the same place: a destination where my heart and ego don’t hurt anymore, where I’m done being wrenched by and missing and mourning what I have lost in this short succession of months.

I am standing still now and my emotions have finally caught up. They’ve hit me from behind like that last wave as you walk out of the surf, exhausted from swimming against the current and thinking you’ve made it.

I hadn’t realized I had outpaced them these past few weeks of ADVENTURing—and so efficiently. I must have been running more than I thought.

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