The last forty eight hours have been an exercise in observation. Me observing life, observing me, observing reactions - and sometimes quelling the urge to run fast in another direction. Or hit something hard. Very hard.
On the good side of things, I've been cleared to run again - however running will have to be undertaken slowly, cautiously and with reverence to the fact that I was a bee's fart away from snapping my right lateral gastrocnemius (calf muscle). The myotherapist is thrilled with my progress, but has warned me that I'm only half way through my recovery. The muscle may have bonded and the pain has gone, but now it's a matter of strenghtening the muscle again. I'm very pleased, but hear her warning. Great, just in time for Reindert to return to whip my butt, three weeks away from the Run Melbourne Half Marathon. I'm unsure what to do about that. I'll either have to ditch the race, do the ten kilometre trail or run/walk and take the longer distance carefully. At least this injury has won't impact too badly on the goal of doing the Marathon in October. It just means going a bit slower.
The Grounded Dutchman has returned too. I like having him back. However, the way some friends have reacted to his return is comparable to finding out your office has had an outbreak of the Ebola virus. Admittedly, I chose to not go to a birthday event for one of the dream group crew on Sunday in favour of firstly spending some time with Blarney and her boys before meeting up with him for coffee.
He's doing well. Nervous about the slur the accident has left him with, looking forward to starting work, wanting to start Pilates to strengthen bits that the months of Dutch therapy have neglected. He looks a little frail - somewhat reduced from when he left last year. Glen Waverley reckons he's aged five years. I just see that I have my friend back. Nothing more, nothing less.
So it was interesting when Gloria texted today asking how I was doing.
G: You okay P? Viv was surprised you seeing Dutchman. She might mention it.
P: Thanks for telling me. Nobody's business really.
G: True, but why so sensitive if nothing in it.
P: Don't like people assuming things that don't concern them
G: Calm down
P: Not heated, just stating a point.
Viv, our dream group co-ordinator has some pretty firm views on the Dutchman. (as has Gloria come to think of it) And after the events and non-events from a few years ago I know why they're concerned, but I've grown up, moved on and the air is clear. Now I just need my friends to do the same. I love them dearly but sometimes I'd like to hit them. Hard.
The thing with the Dutchman is he needs a friend now - nothing more, nothing less. That's all that's going on. He's my friend, happy to be there. We still enjoy each other's company. He's like an old, favourite jumper - good to have around, even if the fit isn't perfect. Just like old friends are supposed to be like.
There was one more bit of news that had me watching myself. Dougall skyped me to tell me of the passing of Alice's father. He'd just taken her and Jasper to the airport for their flight back to England to be with her Mum.
Alice was close to her Dad and the last few months, watching his decline from the other side of the world has taken a toll on her. She's been fortunate to spend some time with him over Christmas and Easter, coming to terms with the fact that he was dying, being there for her mother, coming to terms with the fact that the outcome was inevitable. Unfortunately for Alice, there's been a bit of death around her in the last year with her Grandfather passing early last year.
I take a step back when things like this happen. I can feel Alice's pain and grief. I know the confusion she must be feeling as well as the sense of relief, knowing that her father is no longer suffering, her mother, no longer waiting. I know that certain sadness you feel when this happens.
What I can't relate to is what it's like to lose somebody you're close to - with whom you have a loving bond. I get the confusion and hurt, but does she feel the rage and questioning of the departure of somebody with whom you had a strained relationship? The anger you feel for not being able to resolve all of these feelings you had for the departed?
I'm glad I can run again. It will give me a chance to work my head out in a healthy way.
The flowers were ordered online this afternoon and sent to her mother's house in Essex. It took me half an hour to come up with the words, 'To Alice and family, With love at this sad time, Pand.' There really isn't anything you can say. I've sent instructions with Dougall to call if they need anything. As they're all over in England, I can't do the practical things like take around food or vodka.
And I'm left to watch myself. I try not to think back fourteen years to when my own father passed, the isolation and abject loneliness I felt at the time, nor of the wholesale grief I was feeling. I try to focus on the wonderful help that I got from grief counselling. It was a blessing from this time - that was about it.
I also focus the knowledge that if the same thing was to happen today, there would be people there for me.