|This girl. I fight for this girl.|
This afternoon Brett found me holed up in the bedroom with a stack of New Yorkers, the air conditioner on full blast, and still wearing my green snowflake pajamas from winter with a hole in the crotch.
"Oh my God. Are you sick?"
"Probably." I whined, before pulling the duvet over my head and slinking deeper down into my little cave of disgustingness. "You should go. There's a hole in the crotch of my pajama pants."
"That doesn't really mean anything...but..." he pulled the covers off my head and attempted a look of genuine concern through what I think was him biting back a laugh. "You want lunch? It...is 2pm."
"I can't possibly think about food right now." I snapped. "My life is ending and for some reason all of my pajama pants are going with it. THIS IS THE THIRD PAIR IN A WEEK."
"Maybe you should wear other pants besides...pajama pants?" (this was said in a half whisper because the look I fixed him with most likely made him question everything from his existence to his short marriage to me.) "Just kidding." He recovered, "I LOVE polar bears and snowflakes."
For some reason this made me cry, and as I choked out an apology and laid my head back in my nest of pillows I struggled to say something more. I struggled to explain to him that my lingering sadness was selfish and unfair and he was being patient and everything a best friend should be. Instead, I wiped my eyes roughly and whispered: "I think I need some queso and a margarita."
"Done. Even though queso is gross. But, maybe after you go for a run? And...shower?" He answered, already pulling me into a sitting position. SO, an agreement was reached and I found myself at the gym 20 minutes later, climbing onto the treadmill and reluctantly stretching my legs through my first mile. By the second mile I started to get into my groove and relax a bit. Going into my third, I got a sharp pain in my lungs and had to stop- surprised at the searing grip on my chest and also feeling super embarrassed because a hot girl next to me was on mile 6. (I was looking at her screen. Obviously.) I slowed to a walk and started blinking back tears.
Because I remembered something.
A few years ago I attended the funeral of the mother of one of my youth group girls. The mother was flawlessly elegant, sporty, young, vivacious. She was taken by cancer and way too soon. And, as I sat in the church that day, my hand coldly nestled in Brett's, my heart breaking for the little girl in the front row that just lost her mom, the pastor said something that I'll never forget. I guess before she knew she had cancer, she was swimming in Lake Tahoe and suddenly had a sharp pain in her side. Instead of giving up in the middle of the lake, flailing her arms for help or to quit, she simply- (and I quote) "swam on the other side. The one that didn't hurt."
Now, I don't think I have cancer- and that is not the point of this. I think I haven't really run in a few weeks and maybe have been eating too much queso. Why this story resonated with me was because at the very moment I was in bed being a douche bag with a hole in my pajama pants my little sister, with Cystic Fibrosis, was actually going in for lung surgery.
I was sitting there and moaning about my life while she fought for hers.
I begrudgingly went for a run she can never take.
And I do believe God smacked me in the lungs and was like: "What's up, asshole? Who do you think you are?!"
Or something like that.
The story of the mom reminded me that we can't just let life cramp us up and bring us down. While she did eventually slip peacefully away, she sure as hell didn't go without a fight. And Kayla, my sister, was fighting miles away. Fighting for every breath and every moment while I sat down and decidedly did not fight. I whined and hid my healthy body under a healthy duvet in my healthy-ish home.
I stepped off the treadmill to catch my breath. And wipe my brow.
And then I put on some Ricky-Fucking-Martin (my go to running jams, sorry,) and climbed back up. And I ran for Kayla. And I ran for the mom. And I ran for me.
And then I ate queso. I'm sorry. It's QUESO.