, Blog 1
By Chuck Wells As Told To Ray Hochgesang
Geri and I walked the last mile back to Glendale Boulevard. The workout had refreshed her – and nearly finished me. I wondered out loud what drove a 17-year-old to climb out of a warm bed every morning to punish herself. Her confident demeanor evaporated. She looked perplexed, maybe conflicted. I didn’t think Geri would answer. Or could. But after about quarter mile of forced silence, she chose to reply.
“When I was little, maybe a year old, maybe 14 months or so, I had trouble walking,” she said. “In fact, they thought I couldn’t walk.”
“Wow,” was all I could say.
“The doctors never did figure it out, maybe ten thousand neurons failing to fire here and there. Something like that,” Geri said with a dismissive wave of her had. “My mother still says it’s a miracle I ever did walk, much less run.”
“Some kind of weird polio, huh?”
“I don’t know. Could be.”
Geri shook her head and gazed skyward.
“My parents took me to therapist after therapist until they found one who said she could help. Can you believe it? Not even 2 years old and in therapy.”
I didn’t know what to say.
“That’s why I run so methodically, like a crazed robot.”
“I don’t think you run like a robot,” I said.
“More like an android.”
“Shut up, Wells. I’m trying to be real here, and you’re giving me crap.”
“So the short answer to your question – what motivates me, why do I love to run?”
“Because I can.”
“I like that.”
What else could I say? I was embarrassed I had asked in the first place. I was trying to be conversational. Instead, I got a confessional. For sure, I thought I would hear a shallow “I’m just good at it” answer or “I did it to meet guys.” Perhaps, “I’m just an old-fashioned masochistic girl.” Now I was ashamed. Yes, ashamed I took my God-given talent for granted. Why didn’t I take more pride in it? I put my head down and trudged along, wondering why I was like that.
Copyright © 2012 by Chuck H. Wells/Ray Hochgesang