by Brian D. Meeks
Chapter 26 Day 26
28,500 days, give or take, is all we get, but how many of those do we keep?
There are times, when on a clear night, with the oppressive heat of the day fading into perfection, that you look up into the sky and think about those times. The early morning in the Alps when the classmate threw open the shutters and said, “Look at that,” and a group of twenty something gathered to see the sun’s rays painting the peak of Mont Blanc. “You don’t find many places with that view, for $20 buck a night,” she said.
Or, the sunset with the girl, the first time you finally got up the nerve, after all the hours spent imagining it and then finding out that her kisses were better than any before…or since.
The day they handed you the trophy, the one you didn’t think you could win, because the other guy was better…but not on that day.
Sometimes it can be a simple drive, with the window down, the air filled with the smell of fall settling in for a stay, and then arriving at the parking lot for a tailgater with the college buddies. They’ve gotten older, some have married, and there are kids to discuss and burgers to eat. Then there is the kickoff and finally, the post game celebration. A perfect day.
There are other days, though. When you find your cat, the one you adored, who sometimes greeted you with conditional love, and other times couldn’t be bother, laying on the side of the road. There are the days where poor judgment reared its ugly head and you’ve hated the words chosen, and the viciousness with which you used them. Regret stays with a person.
There are lots of days, but only a few we keep.
There is Day 26 along Lake Michigan, with 26 miles of running to be done. It is hard to imagine that Steve will be able to recall each day, individually, because it has been one long unending day of running. He has more than doubled his previous record but still has hundreds of miles to Navy Pier. He runs for those with cancer and those who have come out the other side. Every mile has the potential to inspire someone, somewhere, to toss a few ducats in and say, “Good job, thanks Steve.”
The list of places cancer attacks is long. Stomach cancer is especially brutal. The survival rates are heart breaking, even at the earliest stages. It is normal for cells to grow, then split, then die, especially during our formative years. When we reach adulthood, this process slows. Cancer cells differ from regular cells because they don’t die. They grow and multiply out of control and invade other healthy tissue. They type of cancer is named for where it starts, the breast, the lungs, ect. Stomach cancer begins in the area between the chest and hips.
Over twenty one thousand people will be told this year that they have this terrible cancer. Today, it was Steve’s uncle Mike.
Many years from now, possibly overlooking a lake somewhere, Steve will think about the run. There will be a lot of moments that make him smile, with pride at all he accomplished, but when the wind dies down and silence creeps up beside him, it will be June 21, Day 26, that will stand out. For good or bad, it is one of the days kept.
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