“There would be a single instant of near disbelief that it would
finally be happening in a fraction of a second;
finally happening after the months, the miles, the misty mornings;
finally happening after the eight or ninth now forgotten interval
along the way somewhere that broke your heart once again.”
— the prophet john l. parker
I was once a runner, as evidenced by my propensity to quote “Once a Runner.” And from it I am left with One Great Truth: I never liked intervals.
You go to a track (back when people were able to go to tracks.) You warm up. And then you run quarters as hard as you can, dying and barely recovering, dying and barely recovering, trying for nothing more than holding your body together for one more round while it tries to cry uncle. This is supposed to make you faster. Mostly it made me throw up.
I’m thinking a lot about those days in Eric Taylor’s 3 a.m. In a few hours, I’ll head back to the House of Chemo for my fourth round in three weeks. Round Three was only six days ago, and I’ve felt since that monkeys with ball peen hammers were visiting me throughout the day, and not in a good way.
“That which does not kill us makes the heart grow fonder,” Nietzsche said. I may have lost that one in the King James translation. And I get the concept of chemo. It’s not SUPPOSED to be fun. If so, it’s working. Tear the body down, hope it builds back later. Repeat as necessary.
Maybe it’s even worse for the vermin. Possibly they’re thumbing through timeshare brochures, ready to abandon ship and move to Del Boca Vista next to the Seinfelds. I pretend this is the worst of it, with sessions going to back-to-back days once a month after this. They haven’t really said for sure, and I guess that’s for the best. Run the mile you’re in. Never look too far down the track.
At 3 a.m., you just want things to be normal again. But then you remember what Potts said: “Nothing in the world is normal. I can’t even understand why you’d even hope for that.” Which makes no sense whatsoever. Maybe things aren’t supposed to make sense at 3 a.m.
So you turn on the Hallmark Christmas movie, pretend your body isn’t dreading the trip back to the joint in five hours, and get ready for your heart to be broken once again on the slow road to the Year of the Ox.
Here we go again, the prophet Colvin said. Another round of the Chemo Mambo Blues, holding your body together for one more round while it tries to cry uncle. We had all this time. We had all this time …
I never liked intervals.