I woke up today to a gorgeous morning. The sky was clear and the sun was shining brightly even though it wasn’t even six o’clock yet. Mark had just left for work and I was lying in bed just soaking in the quiet. I heard the patio door sliding open upstairs and the jingle-jangle of dog tags, then puppy feet trotting down the deck steps. (Dacotah-dog and Heather are visiting this weekend.) I decided to get up and go for a run.
When I went upstairs, Heather was awake and Brad had one eye open as he peeked at me groggily from inside his sleeping bag cocoon on the living room floor. I asked Heather if she ever takes Dacotah for a run. She said she hadn’t but I was welcome to take her with me. Dacotah seemed ready for an adventure, so off we went.
Once I convinced Dacotah that I should be the one to hold the leash, we got off to a good start. She’s just a puppy though, and doesn’t know how to heel. She’s too curious. She criss-crossed the path in front of me and wanted to chase all the birds and sniff every patch of clover. We hadn’t gone two blocks when I turned a corner and she stopped dead in her tracks. I have no idea why, but she was going no further. I guessed she was growing uncomfortable putting so much distance between herself and Heather. So I brought her back home and headed out once again on my own.
The sun, when I faced it, was nearly blinding and the warmth on my face felt incredible. A train passed through as I continued my run. Sometime over the past twenty years of living near the tracks, the rhythm of a train has become a welcome and familiar sound to my ears. All my worries and anxiety seemed to melt away as I listened to the train’s rumble and my feet pounded the pavement.
I thought about the past couple of days as I ran. After Wednesday night when Gina broke the news about moving out of state, I had a hard time shaking my sadness. I’m having a hard time accepting that there’s now a limit to the days of dropping everything and just driving over to her house, or meeting up for an afternoon of shopping, or our many fun-filled nights out. I was kind of a sad sack on Thursday and Mark kept asking if I was alright. He couldn’t seem to grasp why I was having such a hard time and he was starting to frustrate me. I felt like I had to put on a different face for him, so he wouldn’t be so worried. Maybe it’s juvenille of me to rely so heavily on my friend. Other people do it all the time…deal with distance, I mean. Then again, I think friends of this caliber are a rare treasure and maybe not everyone can understand that kind of bond.
Regardless, it occurred to me that at some point I’d have to accept things. I can’t be running around crying over the loss of my friend for the next six months. I remembered something Dwayne told me once in reference to some other situation that was worrying me. Dwayne’s a smart guy and his theory is something that fits perfectly here too. The day that Gina moves away is going to be one day. There are approximately 180 days (give or take) between today and that one day. I could spend the next 180 days being sad and mopey. And in essence, what I’d be doing is wasting every single day that could be better spent enjoying my friend and squeezing in as much togetherness as possible before she moves. I’m going to choose not to waste those days.
I couldn’t help but think yesterday about that old saying; something about when one door closes, another one opens. I had been telling my friend, Shannon at work about Gina leaving. Shannon and I have grown close over the past year and she knows most of what goes on in my life, though we have yet to expand our friendship outside of the office. I could tell that Shannon understood why I was sad and she felt bad.
Her words took on a sympathetic tone and she asked, “Who are you going to bowl with this winter?”
In a mock-wine, I answered, “I don’t know! Gina is the glue that kept the team together. I don’t know if the other girls are going to return to the team without her there to push them.”
I looked at Shannon and half-jokingly asked, “Do you want to bowl with me this year?”
Knowing Shannon has three kids, all younger than mine and one with special needs, not to mention the fact that she plays volleyball once a week throughout the winter, I knew what the answer was likely to be. Her sympathetic voice now took on a Duh-tone as she responded, “Well, yeah! I thought you’d never ask!”
I can’t tell you how happy that made me.
Not that anyone could ever take Gina’s place, but Shannon and I are very similar creatures and there’s always room for another good friend. It occurs to me that as much as I hate the fact that Gina is leaving, had this not happened, I might not have ever opened the door to building on my friendship with Shannon.
Having reached this point in my life, it still surprises me that I’m just learning a lesson like this. But I guess the day I stop learning is the day I stop living and I’m not ready for that yet. Life is good.
P.S. If you have a Blogger blog and it seems like I haven’t visited or commented lately, it’s not that I haven’t tried. Anyone else experiencing this?
Update: I downloaded Google Chrome and dumped Internet Explorer. Problem solved!