I am a selfish - The Runner's Bag
From this I hope to come out a better person. When someone in your family relays the risk to you, "the next one could be me", you understand that the fear is not that a race is suspended or that a neighbor may call your attention for going down to stretch your legs in the community garage . Fear is something more important.
In this human butchery that we are experiencing, it does not occur to me to write today about running. Maybe because today I am tired. I am tired of calling my brother and telling me that this seems like a war, that the next to fall in the hospital may be him, that today three or four other doctors have fallen. One of them with unpredictable consequences such as surgery, which did the Madrid marathon last spring and which has been admitted to the ICU today. To know what life can run. We will pray for him.
We know that we are all at risk. But when someone in your family transmits the risk to you, when someone in your family enters the rooms of patients who have this virus and who can infect it, when the same person refuses to enter the maintenance manager because he has no protection, when everything that happens the world does not help you to be selfish. Suddenly, I forget that I cannot go down the street to run nor does it seem appropriate to offer condolences to elite athletes because the Tokyo Olympics are delayed by a year.
When all that happens I like to see the streets empty. I am happy to open the windows and hear almost no noise. I prefer the applause of the eight in the afternoon to see an Olympic medal. Perhaps because one is never prepared for someone in your family to tell you, ‘the next one can be me ’ up to the eyebrows in that war in Vietnam in which the best does not always win. But that is the life of hospitals now. There you miss an instruction book so as not to be afraid but how can you not be there. That's your job. That's what you formed for. No one guaranteed you that one day you would not go through situations like this: the masterpiece of agony.
I have always used part of the day to think about myself, my writing, my work, my workouts. But now it costs me more. I have understood that not everything is bad in fear. Fear makes us better people. The fear is hearing your brother say, "The next one can be me," and not being able to say "stay home." The fear is not that a race is suspended or that a neighbor may call your attention for going down to stretch your legs in the community garage. Fear is something else. Fear is a profession without schedules whose expiration date is nowhere to be found.
I have never experienced a year as difficult as this one. My mother underwent surgery in December for a tumor in her vocal cords. When my brother called me to tell him what was wrong with his mother, I couldn't continue listening to him. I hung up and started crying like I did years ago. That afternoon I didn't even dare to call my mother on the phone. I didn't want to feel vulnerable to her, which always seemed invulnerable to me. In the end, they operated on her urgently and everything went well. When we got out of the hospital I asked her not to give me any Christmas present. The best one had already been done to me.
In this same year my wife has been on leave since September. Last Tuesday, he underwent surgery for the third time because of a 2-centimeter stone and multiple things in his kidney. Entering the hospital was like entering the opposite field. The only ones who weren't wearing a mask were us because we couldn't find it anywhere, in any of the pharmacies we went to. I didn't want to be afraid, but it occurred to me to think, what if we got infected from here? And, in principle, nothing should happen but it can happen.
While I was waiting for her to come out of the operating room, there was a time when I went up and down stairs. I asked myself what I was doing and then I realized that I was not moving my legs, but moving my head, moving away from the silence of the room and the phone in my hand. I love the phone a lot because every day it keeps me very company but there are times when it saturates me. So I need to say goodbye: we can't be together all day.
Today, I don't even know why I tell all this, I have always thought that I am a discreet guy. But on days like these it costs me more to write. Maybe that's why today I can't imagine writing about running. Silence has established a very close relationship with the streets. The drama has gripped hospitals like the one my brother works at. From seeing 25 patients a day it has gone to 125. That is not fair. That exposure to risk does not exist even at kilometer 1 of the marathon. At any moment you can lose control of the situation and you do not know what can happen. The surgeon, who was working until yesterday, today has slept in the ICU.
These days, after 4 years almost uninterrupted every week, it is the first time that I feel unable to write to run on this website. But today I felt that I should write about that drink that tastes so bitter: fear, that fear that usually slips into our lives without asking permission. Today, I have told you mine that as a rule I am a guy who believes in happy endings. Life is also a message of encouragement. Just as my mother has already recovered brilliantly, the day will come when the urologist will tell my wife 'everything is over' and the day will also come when my brother will call me again to tell me how they came out that afternoon the series on the Vallehermoso track.
And we will go out again instead of looking out the window. And when that day comes I will have got rid of the perverse being that lives inside me today, "the next one can be me". I will have gained positions in the ranking of life in which, as you get older, you discover that in the end it is all about being as selfish as possible. And the people we like to run so much we can be very selfish. And sometimes we forget that there are more important things than being injured or having one's doors closed to run.