I was on my bike, some evenings ago, looking for dinner. Tacos maybe, or a crappy burger. There was a Vietnamese place down the road that made good soup. The air was spongy and unseasonably warm. Still cool enough that the combination of temperature and humidity was kind of gross. It was a pleasant ride nonetheless, as I was in good spirits and had an unplanned night ahead of me.
It started to rain. A misty, sputtering rain that had little effect on my ride, so I continued. About two thirds of the way to dinner it started to rain hard. Not torrential, just hard enough to make me pull off the road and under a tree. I leaned my bike against the back side of the tree and sat on the little mound of grass around it and watched the cars go by. I stared at the circle of pavement underneath the tree, drier than the shiny street around it.
So there I sat, a little rain falling on my head, sipping from my water bottle. My mood turned pensive, matching the weather. I started thinking about problems in my family, dissatisfaction with my job, unease about the upcoming election. I worried that my sons were doing well in college. That they were making good enough choices and had well-ordered priorities. I was concerned about the changes in my wife’s job, about what they would mean for her happiness and our future. I struggled with the anxiety my job was causing. I was worried about the tenuous success and happiness we’ve worked so hard for. I was hopeful yet fearful. I couldn’t see the monster, but that didn’t mean it wasn’t under the bed.
I love my life, and I cling to it. I draw pictures of it in my head. What it looked like in the past, what it will look like in the future. The things I’ll see and the places I’ll go. The belief that I haven’t yet heard my favorite song, or tasted my favorite food. A picture of a life with no well-worn routes, a life you can’t navigate blindfolded. Knowing that wherever my favorite place is, She’ll see it with me. And that I’ll call Them later and tell Them all about it. That’s what I cling to. And the monster under the bed doesn’t seem too bad after all.
I couldn’t see the dry circle anymore. Taking cover hadn’t done me any good, I was getting wet anyway. Time to push on. The tacos were delicious.