Yesterday was a low point.
For the better part of ten days I'd been slumped on the living room sofa feeling totally despondent, a battalion of tears constantly threatening an offensive from the backs of my eyes. Bevan, who's had a front row seat for the full run of my post-surgery sulk show, walked into the room, took stock of the all-too-familiar wreckage, and asked, "Would exercise help?"
"I'm not allowed," I croaked.
"I think you're healing well," he said. "It can't hurt to call your doctor."
Reluctantly, I picked up the phone and dialed. After a few rings the woman at the front desk answered, asked me some questions about myself and my condition and then informed me that the surgeon would be calling shortly.
"Are you experiencing any bleeding?" a voice asked when I answered the phone several minutes later. It was my surgeon. He was calling from Taiwan where he was vacationing for the Thanksgiving holiday.
"No, not much," I told him.
"What about pain?"
"None at all."
"When do your sutures come out?"
"Okay," he said, sighing. "You can start with a few easy miles tomorrow."
"But go very easy, Corey. This is not a time to push yourself."
"I won't!" I told him. "I promise!"
The sky was gray and the air was cool but I all but leapt out of bed this morning anyway. I laced up my sneakers, slipped my house keys into the pocket of my running shorts and took off down Waller Street toward the Panhandle. Even though my pace was a good deal slower than usual, it still felt like flying. To be moving and using my body again was to be set free.
About a third of the way through the run, just as I was entering the park, it started to drizzle. Without thinking I tilted my face to the sky, allowing the drops to pelt my cheeks, and let go a laugh. It was a baptism by rainwater.
When my three miles were up I walked a cool-down lap through the neighborhood. Sweaty and rain-soaked and smiling like a fool I snapped a picture for my pal Will who'd requested a status update once I'd finished.
"Happy camper!" was his reply.
Finally, I thought.