Photo taken by Jaybird Sport
I’m sitting on a too-firm sofa in the living room of our hotel suite, drinking a glass of some kind of illegible French white wine, thinking about my husband. He went to bed 30 minutes ago, and is dutifully doing his night time stretching routine on the other side of the door. I know this because I can hear the familiar sounds of the foam roller readjusting against the carpet, and the occasional sigh that comes after realizing you’ve been accidentally holding your breath. Plus, he hasn’t missed one night of pre-sleep rehab work in months. He isn’t going to start the night before the Ironman 70.3 World Championships.
As I think about him, I feel like someone is pressing a palm onto my sternum, squeezing the love from my heart up into my throat. The same feeling I got at 17 when I fell in love with him, and he hardly knew my name. And the similarity of this feeling floors me.
Goddammit if triathletes aren’t pains in the asses with all their gear, and endless hours of training, and the spreadsheets to keep it all straight. The inability to casually go on a hike, or spontaneously go out for french toast. Triathletes aren’t for the needy, but needy I am not. What I am is a great admirer of competence. And when it comes to competence, there is no finer study than Jesse Thomas.
The space behind the door has gone quiet. He is reading his dystopian-future novel on his iPhone and in less than three minutes he’ll be asleep.
Sometimes when I think about Jesse, I think about how I am the one that gets to know. Where his heads at. What he really thinks he’s capable of. And that not even being married to someone guarantees you this access. It is built. Constructed over the potholes, cracks, and chasms on the road to Oz. With the tools on hand. The you in progress.
But even as he sleeps he dreams of another level of possible. The kind you can’t say out loud, even if you’ve said it, because there are no words for the feelings of dreams coming true. And this dreaming will scare him awake, because who is he to dream, and there’s so many ranked ahead, and so many reasons why it won’t. But the feeling tastes too good not to just close your eyes, and let it melt.
More on Jesse’s race on his blog.