Not exactly the right time for aesthetic considerations

I learned long ago not to invite Mark when I go out running. Whilst, objectively speaking, it is nice for the ego to see a Mark sweating like a pig, and wheezing like a chimney, it means that I have to stop all the time and wait for him to catch up. Also, I have to wait while he stands there, hands on his knees, bent over, to catch his breath again.

Mark is not unfit, but he’s not a runner. He’s a muscle man, while yours truly lives up to the gazelle inheritance of the humans on the savannah. I’m the one that bounds all across the landscape. He’s the one who bench-presses the car to impress me with his bulging biceps.

Yesterday I broke the rule and let him come along, even though I knew that I’d be doing little running. And true enough, after ten minutes Mark dropped off behind me, bent over, wheezing. All I could was to roll my eyes, and make a mental note that I should learn how to say ‘no’ sometimes.

I usually run for an hour. If I’m doing five miles, I run for two hours, to give myself space for resting. Yesterday’s run took four hours, and most of that time was spent waiting for him. Unfortunately Mark doesn’t know how to quit, so when he sets his mind to something he finishes. It didn’t help that I told him to go home again. No, he wanted to finish. He complained about needing to be fit.

Eventually I just settled for seeing it as a chance to just watch him soak in sweat. There is a certain artistic aesthetic seeing him drenched in it. Particularly when his T-shirt start to cling to his pectorals. I won’t reveal what filthy thoughts crossed my mind on several occasions during the run.

That said, now I’m feeling unsatisfied. Oh behave. I feel unsatisfied because I didn’t do a proper run yesterday, and that means I’m going to have to do it again. Maybe tomorrow or on Tuesday. I will probably also feel guilty so that I do a five-mile run just to get it out of the system.

And then, I’ll say no, regardless of the chance for eye-candy along the road. There is a time and a place for the small pleasures in life. I usually feel fantastic after a run, but I have to work for it. And remove the distractions on the way to that satisfaction.

English graffiti in deep Surrey

Some people one meets by chance, and some people one meets because it is the most logical thing that one should meet them. In college, Abbie and I became friends because we were homosexuals among a gaggle of heteros. Ben and I became friends because we boys had to stick together against the overwhelming majority of girls in our classes. Those were logical, reasoned friendships. Ben and Abbie became friends because both orbited around me.

I met Stephen over a hedge when he and I lived up near my auntie’s house, and he was stunned that someone young actually lived in the neighbourhood. It was pure chance that I was out in front of the house at that particular time when he was passing. I keep wondering what my life would have been like if he hadn’t met at that time, in that place.

Some people one meets have a big, massive impact on one’s life. Meeting Stephen had the biggest impact of all, because when he heard I was gay and moaned about never meeting anyone, he introduced me to another of his mates who moaned about never meeting anyone. Mark. Here we are.

Then, suddenly, one day, one realises that the things one had aren’t the same any more. Things have changed, and I don’t want things to change, because I like having things as they are now.

We’re all splitting up now. Abbie goes his way, Ben stays here, I’m heading for London in a month and a half, and Stephen disappears into the bowels of his parents employers for the next year. We’ll still see each other, but less often. Stephen will still show up on our door-step at eight in the morning, with a torn shirt, like today, moaning that he was in a hurry to get reach the bus after a one-night stand with some girl.

To be honest, Abbie’s been out of our orbit for months now. We see each other in the hallways, say hello, smile, and then hurry on, each to our own destinations. But sometimes we get together and pretend that it’s still the same as it was in College. Except it’s not, and now things are changing even more.

We went out this evening. Me, Mark, Stephen, Abbie, Ben, Ian. Plus the girlfriends of those who have them. A right little crew that occupied one small table of many in a bar here in town. The pint glasses piled up. The shot glasses too. The sound level reached hurricane proportion. Then, melancholia because this is a change I don’t want, and I left to go home and mope alone.

I blamed feeling queasy. After the usual taunts about ‘drinking too much’, which I haven’t, I escaped into the night air and walked all the way home. Took me forty minutes, but as I walked, I thought. And thought. And thought. Like when you’re awake at night, and the thoughts just tumble over each other in your head.

Some people one meets by chance, and some people one meets because it is the most logical thing that one should meet them. While you’re with them, you think nothing of it, and expect things to last forever. But they never do, do they? Things. They don’t last forever. But it’s also good, in a very strange way – if you can understand what I mean. Change means you see things for what they are, and appreciate that which is changing. One can do something about the changes. One can evaluate what is changing, decide if one wants to work to keep it, or let it go.

I didn’t drink much, I rarely do, but maybe it’s the beer talking through me, but I feel warm and fuzzy at the moment for what we had. I’m not sad, not like when I left the pub. No melancholic moaning here where I rage impotently into the night about horrid external impositions. That’s not what this is. It’s just change, a new beginning.

One can make room for the past in a new way is what I’m thinking. If one let’s the change come. If one keeps that which is valuable, and discard the rest. Right?