All this Juice and all this Joy

The first signs, mere hints, come creeping into our lives. Mornings aren’t so dark, the air doesn’t bite, birds sing their old early songs, bobbing figures are sighted in the streetscape. The wind turns northerly, bearing scents and pollens. Gardens burst into sudden colour, the sky seems higher, its lowering grey gives way to – to what? Can this be blue? We don’t readily trust these auguries, for this winter has frostbitten our trust in nature’s cycles. But soon it is undeniable: spring, SPRING is here!

Runners come out of hibernation; it is they whom we sight bobbing up and down on our streets, all of them preparing for the Melbourne Marathon. They bob but I bob not. My wretched, traitorous right calf locks and bites with every step, hissing at me, Pheidipides, you can forget the Marathon this October.

Meanwhile two identical envelopes arrive in the mail, both addressed to Pheidipides Goldenberg, both from the marathon people. I open the first and find my runner’s bib and the electronic chip that will time my run. A wry pleasure, these, tokens of a challenge that might yet defeat me before I start. The second envelope contains a second electronic chip and a second bib with PHEIDIPIDES printed across it with a runner’s number below. That number is not the same number as on bib Number One. What can this mean? Am I two persons? (Come to that, am I one person?) My I.T. skills being as they are I must have completed an entry form, hit ‘pay’, sent it off, forgotten I’d done it and repeated the entire process. So here I am, a runner torn, forlorn, with two identities.

This Melbourne Marathon will be – would be – my forty-eighth. Not a novelty then, but yet entirely different. Come October 18 I won’t run for myself but as a companion, a support person to a true hero, one of the very few runners to have completed every single Melbourne Marathon. I wrote of this hero last year: how, recently diagnosed with a serious condition, then treated with rays and our medical poisons, he ran and managed to grind out a finish despite his disease. To accompany this modest man will be a privilege. He responds to my self-invitation, Howard, I can’t allow you to sacrifice your marathon for mine. I’ll slow you down…

Inwardly I laughed. This man who knows fears and deeps far beyond my knowing, cannot know my capacity for running a new Personal Worst. And with two electronic chips, each secured to a running shoe, and each uniquely linked to a bib number, I will follow myself over the Line and finish both last and second last.

4 thoughts on “All this Juice and all this Joy

  1. That’s a challenge, will you let another slower runner pass you by? Strange the chain of thought – 48 and a doctor speaking. I gave forty-eight blood donations, but they refused to take it after that as I had been investigated for atrial fibrillations. There’s nothing magic about 50, but I’d like to be giving still as they are so short these days.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hilary

      I enjoy the odd movement of your thought train

      There are no slower runners
      In years past when legs and lungs and pride were stronger I’d battle every overtaken

      If she were young and female and faster than I , I’d find a burst of speed and remain superior in my absurd little triumph

      Atrial fibrillation – not to be encouraged

      Please desist,HCG

      I have just read Jonathan franzen’s’purity’

      A fat book and substantial
      Unlike ‘the corrections’, which I found dreary and emotionally monochrome, this is bright racy ingenious
      I enjoyed it and commend it

      He does seem pretty interested in masturbation – his metaphor for life under communism in East Germany
      And equally in cunnilingus which is his metaphor for… Cunnilingus

      My own train has stopped at a siding

      Good night



    • We will see jan

      I lie in bed sleeplessly interrogating my calf, my willpower and endurance

      Which are all incorrect focuses

      My companion is the afflicted one; it is he whom I should have in mind

      No doubt there will be. A report to be read

      There is, of course, no such thing as failing in a trial of this nature

      The success is the best attempt one/two can do


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