Somebody asked me a while back what I think about on those long, long days and nights when I'm out there for hours and hours on my bike. Well, this is what I think about.
On my morning commute yesterday, Mimi and I were riding together. She said something and I became angry. We parted at Myrtle and Flora, a place we separate often, only instead of parting with a loving kiss and hug, it was with tension and hurt feelings. Later, I was riding my bike home from work. By myself. As I rode through the International District, I saw a young couple, obviously very much in love, walking arm in arm up Main Street. As I rode along, I thought back so many, many years to when Mimi and I were first together and how we used to look at each other this way. I remembered how I felt, and how she made me feel every time I saw her. Even if we were a block apart, oh how my heart raced just at the sight of her. It often still does.
I rode on up the hill.
I turned south on Beacon Avenue and by the library, I saw another young couple. This couple had a small child. The father was carrying the child and the mother was watching them as they strolled along, her arm through his. The couple clearly had a single focus. That child. As I slowed and watched them, I thought about that magic autumn of 1978 when we were expecting our first child, that incredible night when Mimi told me it was time to go to the hospital and the next few months. I chuckled to myself about how precious that time was. It still is.
I continued to ride towards home.
Just past the fire station, I saw a dad and his two young children riding along on the sidewalk on their bicycles. As I again slowed to watch them, I noticed the younger of the two children struggling while the older child rode off ahead and dad barely able to decide which one to pay the most attention to. He looked at me and smiled. I looked at him and smiled back. I gave him a thumbs up. I thought back a few years to 1992, the first year I trained my sons and rode with them on their first STP. What a time that was! How proud I was when we all crossed the finish line together. How proud I still am. How proud Mimi was, and how supportive she was when we went out every weekend and rode our bikes all day instead of working around the house.
I rode on along the hill.
Somewhere south of Columbian Way, I was riding along and noticed a very old couple. Leaning into each other. Looked like if they didn't hold onto each other, they would fall down. As I looked at this old couple, I thought about the morning. I thought about my life and how very precious my wife is and how precious every moment of every day is. My eyes started to tear up a little and I thought it must be because there was a headwind.
In a brief seven miles, I had re-lived 33 years of marriage by watching others about me. I went home and took Mimi for a walk. We strolled along, arm in arm, and as we did, we talked of our lives together and how much we mean to each other.
Life is fragile. I don't want to waste it.