And you are coming to me but then you aren't ,and you are right in front of me but then you are just a light through the curtain. Daunting light, splashing of light, light that reminds me of a lonely and scared youth
Certain memories, future thoughts.
December. I am hunting on the Upper bay. It's goose season, and I am in a blind with my dog and a friend, Steve. The morning is beginning. It's amazingly beautiful. Snow flurries begin and we both smile. It's like a Ducks Unlimited picture, I say. Steve nods. My dog looks at the both of us, and we know that she knows. This is special. We have put our two hundred decoys already. I did not get much sleep last night. I still get excited like a little kid the night before I go hunting or fishing. It's the most fun that I have.
1988. Summertime in Maryland. It’s 100 degrees, and its humid and its sweltering and its just like all of the years before when I have trained. Almost fifteen years of football? Seems like all of my life. I am sweating, dripping sweat. I love every second of it. Its “throw up hill” and it seems like an old friend of mine. Sixty yards long, complete with rocks and gravel and sand and sometimes even a small tree laid across it with a natural spring fed stream that you must jump over at the beginning of the hill. Jumping over the brook starts the vertical sprint. Nestled deep in the woods of suburban Washington DC, a veritable woodland paradise that has been your secret training place for many years. If I can make 10 of these hills without puking my brains out, then I know that I am in shape for football season. It's a challenge, a challenge that I must push myself through every offseason. You get that feeling, sprinting up the hill, that your legs just want to stop moving as you get about halfway up. You will yourself to the top, pumping your arms to help you get there. Sand and gravel kicking up behind you. Not that bad, you think as you reach end. And then the long walk down the hill begins. The Hill hits you then, the oxygen deficit, the quivering legs. How many reps have I done? Was that 2 or 3? You can’t remember. So you decide on 2. Always better to do an extra one than to cheat yourself. The 60 yard hill has some rules, self made rules. One of them is that as soon as you reach the bottom, you must go again right away. No resting.
And then it is night time. All is quiet. I can hear my breath, my heart beating slowly, strongly. I start to wonder just how many beats of the heart that I have put through hell has left in this life. It is finite, ya know, this crazy span of nothing that we are given to smile through, to grin and bear it through, and quite brutally, to suffer through. Because we all get in in the end. No matter what you are, your success level, your material wealth, your thoughts and aspirations, your kids and your vacations, your big promotion, all of it. We all end up shitting and pissing ourselves in the end, wishing that we had taken more chances, wishing that fear never stopped us from a goddam thing. It all doesn’t seem so important what people think now, does it? Hit the nurses button and see the look on her face as she fake smiles her way through another sponge bath. You scan the room for your family, nobody is there. Your wife died a few years back, and you have been a burden to your kids ever since, going from house to house to live, a border in their houses. You feel useless, unwanted, and although nobody ever said that to you, it’s the way that you feel. Fear of what, man, fear of what? You should have done it all, you should have published that book, gone to Europe, fought that fight, walked away and done what you really loved, seen the world, made that phone call, made that speech, shook that hand, spent that money, ran that race.