Some endings are explosive and ragged. The pieces left behind reflect the trauma and tearing apart.
Sometimes endings are really beginnings, laying down the foundation of the future.
And some endings are not endings – they are just the flow of time, breaking down some things while building up others. Time may be linear and constant, but it is not always experienced that way.
The last 3.5 years of my life have ebbed and flowed in the weirdest of ways. Everyone has gotten a taste of this with COVID, but my body has enforced restrictions on activities and kept me at home a lot for a long time before the virus emerged.
Who knows how long time will flow in such an odd way? I don’t know the future and I don’t yet know if this illness will ever end. I hope it does – not in a tumultuous way, but in a slow melting of symptoms such that one day I wake up and realise it’s gone.
But in the meantime, in this flow of days and months and years, I will continue to ride as much as I can and find ways to experience nights in my tent. I just have to push through one more year of work, hopefully at a slower pace, and then a bike tour of indeterminate length is in the plans. (Back in 2014, I was thinking the next multi-month bike tour would be 2020, but illness got in the way of that… thankfully, since touring was most definitely not a good thing to be trying to do this year!).
For now, it’s back to work and weekend rides. I am grateful to have a job. I am grateful to be feeling a little bit better. I am grateful to not currently be living paycheck to paycheck. I am grateful to be in a country that’s had an outstanding public health response to the virus. I am grateful to live in a beautiful part of the world with so many roads yet unridden that beckon me forth on the weekends even when my body says sleep is the preferred option.
And I am grateful that I still have a loving and caring relationship with my ex-partner – that the pieces left behind from our marriage mean that we still have a deep friendship and still care about one another as much as we did back in those heady, lustful, early days. So much of his life now is full of struggle and turmoil. The pieces left behind from past traumas still haunt him. It is sad and hard to watch.
And so I shed some tears of joy for that skinny little petrolhead when he got to live out a life-long dream of driving a race car at Mount Panorama. My heart swelled with pride and happiness to see him so happy and so in his element. He took to that race car as if he’d been doing that daily for all of his life.
He did an outstanding job and was easily in the top three drivers out there. His in-car video shows him staying incredibly calm and focused, something he is not normally known to be, through the whole circuit – even at high speeds and in the trickiest of turns. He was awesome and I am so grateful I got to witness it.
Sometimes, on rare occasions, little glimpses of the man I married can be seen through all the years of angst, rage and trauma that have transformed that human. I got to see that sweet, humble guy with extraordinary driving skills that I married 20 years ago for a little bit on 1 December. I will treasure that as I know there are years and years, and maybe a lifetime, of difficulty ahead for him.
I will keep that image of him coming back up from pit lane in my head – his huge grin and enthusiasm as he floated on Cloud 9, all ready to spend big dollars to go back and do the drive again next year (the event is only held once a year).
Even though this week and a half did not quite occur as I had originally envisioned, you could not have put together all the pieces left behind in a better way for a week and a half of riding, resting and racing.