a very brief conversation about heartache

The following is a transcript of a spontaneous and short conversation I had with myself whilst out running after a day spent with clients. It represents an imagined continuation of several unconnected conversations and thoughts had throughout the week on how we live with the things that wound us.  I was running the route I always run when I only have forty minutes. The sky was heavy with moisture, though not quite raining. The mist thick to the floor.


Me: How do you live with heartache then?

Myself: This again (laughs inwardly). I’m not sure there is a how.

*pause*

Myself: I think you just do. You just do live with it. 

*pause*

Myself: That wasn’t the answer you were looking for, was it?

Me: No, not really.

Myself: I’m sorry you feel disappointed. I suppose it does sound like a paradox doesn't it? You just do, by doing nothing at all. You get active with the idea of passivity perhaps. Of what you can't do. Hmmm. Let me think some more. Hold on.

*longer pause*

Myself: it seems to me, that everything that works aches. Everything that works, must ache.

Me: How do you mean?

Myself: I mean that, if something is operating hard and functioning well then it is being worked. It’s under strain. It must ache. The ache proves that it’s working.

*pause*

Me: Ok...I think I see. Tell me more though. 

Myself: Would you expect your legs to always be pain free when you are running on them constantly? Do you not accept that they ache as a consequence of the work they’re putting in?

Me: Mmm. Yes. That’s true. When they ache I know I've done the work. I feel pretty satisfied actually. 

Myself: Exactly!

Me: my calves hurt, and I read that as inevitable damage that will repair. I welcome that. I invite that. It's kinda the point right?

Myself: (nods)

Me: And I suppose I rest them. I allow them that. And then I put them through the same ordeal again. As often as I can, actually. I try and keep myself fed in the right way so that they can do the work. I suppose I hope they’ll get stronger but, yes, I think they’ll always ache.

Myself: Yes. That. So, you see you do just live with heartache. You carry on in the same way. There's no magic how. The muscle just gets stronger. But it will always ache. This is the proof that it’s working. That it’s doing the work that you ask of it. That you are doing the work.

*end of run. kettle on*