It was dark this morning. The kind of dark that wraps itself around you enough that you don’t want to get out of bed because you think it must still be midnight. The kind of dark that whispers “stay in bed” directly into your ear and brainwashes you to dream on. That’s the kind of dark that convinced me I ought not to get up and walk. Yes, I decided it was not a good day to wake up this early. It was too dark. I was warm. And comfortable. And I could always get up and start my day later. Yes. I had made up my mind.
My mind, however, had a different opinion. It was awake. It seemed that my mind had a lot going on this morning. There was some music playing – of course only one line that was continually repeated as my brain could only recall one line – there were images flashing past including David’s empty lunch box, a sink full of dishes, clothes that had not yet been washed, last night’s dinner conversations. There were voters turning out at the polling stations, dialogues between Kevin and myself that kept replaying, and reminders flashing of all the paper work that still needed to be completed. It seemed to me that my mind was way more active than my body. And when that happens, there is only one logical conclusion: get up!
What made this conclusion even more compelling, of course, was the arrival of my morning coffee. It was always hand-delivered by my dear hubby who has made this delivery a ritual of sorts. Sometimes, I hear the footsteps up the stairs, sometimes I hear the squeak of the bedroom door, and sometimes I hear nothing, rather, the smell is what catches my attention first. It’s aroma gently fills my nostrils and seduces my senses to “WAKE UP”! This morning I neither heard, nor smelled anything. It was Kevin’s voice that raised me from my slumber. “Good morning, Princess,” he chirped.
“Are you walking this morning?” I asked as though this was really a legitimate question. It was just far too dark for anyone to venture out.
Crap. If he were walking, then I’d walk.
It was close to eight minutes before I sucked back the coffee, got dressed, and gave the dog her morning treat. Eight minutes of zombie – walking to prepare for the exit into the abyss. Eight minutes of self-pity and denial and prodding. Out we walked. Into the dark with the dog bouncing around in front of us – exuberantly anticipated the smells the neighbourhood dogs may have left for her the day before.
There was not a lot of difference if you walked with your eyes open or your eyes closed when we reached the pond. Other than if you looked up at the sky. An odd “third” star had joined Mars. I wished that we had that “sky-tracker” app to point at the sky to figure out that mystery. I grabbed for Kevin’s arm. He seemed to see better at night than me. Besides, I knew he was a bit nervous and needed my arm to reassure him that he would be okay. You know men.
A skiff of frost lay on the beams of the boardwalk and sparkled somewhat under the stars to illuminate the path like the lights along an airport runway. “Ready for landing” they seemed to say.
Kevin and I continued our regular walk along Ferndale, to Tiffin, to Patterson. The bright car lights guided our way. I let Kevin walk in front of me when we returned to the road through the forest. (It was easier to follow him than for me to see the path itself)
At the park, dawn finally almost broke. We had made it. With only five minutes left on the walk – the path brightened up. It was still cold. Not as cold as it would be in another month, but it was cold. Winter was setting in. The snow would brighten the way for us in the future. The warmth would be sacrificed for more light.
“Funny,” I thought to myself. “I can hardly remember what I felt like this time last year.” I do remember reminding myself to take note of as much as I could – I wasn’t sure I’d see another winter. I remember stopping with Kevin every once in a while as I sometimes was just plain out of steam. The chemo zapped had zapped my energy. I remember wanting to never give in. The walks were so very important. Not just physically, but also mentally. If I could not walk, I felt I would not live. Kevin and I had begun our walk the same way last year – in the dark – and ended up in the light. It always happened. I always had faith that, somehow, we would finish. We would come home.
We ended our journey as we always did, with a hug on the front step. “Thanks for the walk, Kevin,” I added.
And that was that. Our morning adventure had ended – and our day had just begun.