A mile

Reflections & Ramblings: Volume Thirty-Five

On Monday I ran a mile.

This might not seem all that significant to you, but it is for me. I’ve tried to pick up the habit of running twice in my life. The first was when I lived in Chicago, around 2014. I listened to a training app that made it seem like I was running from zombies that supposedly prepared me for running a 5K.

It turns out that I would die pretty quickly in a zombie apocalypse. I lasted a week before I gave up.

The second time I tried making running a routine was a few years ago here at Boys Town. I ran a mile through my neighborhood sans zombie app. I think I tried to run much too fast because with each stride it felt like someone was stabbing me in the side with a long, dull knife. This time my running experiment lasted one day before I gave up.

But this past Monday I ran a mile again. I did it again on Tuesday. And then on Wednesday I went to spin class. On Thursday I biked 20 miles with my friend Jeff, and then biked another 20 miles last night with him.

I’m trying. One mile at a time.

I drove over to my mom’s last night to pick up some of my brother’s old things. I’ve kind of been putting this off. I’m not sure exactly why. Perhaps I subconsciously thought it would be too difficult emotionally, I don’t know.

It was indeed emotionally difficult. More difficult than I had anticipated.

I picked up a few of the electronic gadgets I knew I could use around the house. Cords, monitors, things like that. A drone. I also picked up his big gaming computer that he assembled a few years back.

Today I found the cords that went to his gaming monitor. I found his gaming mouse and his gaming mechanical keyboard. I set it all up, plugged the computer into the wall and booted it up.

Enter pin to log in

I don’t know his pin, nor could I guess it. But through a series of other settings I sent a recovery email to his gaming email address, which I had access to via his MacBook Pro. Matthew had thankfully never logged out of his MacBook, and so when I opened it up there was never a need to know his password. On various tabs on his computer he had all his social media accounts pulled up, along with his various email addresses. So I had access to his Facebook and Instagram and Youtube and Email.

I grabbed his MacBook to check the recovery email to be able to reset his pin and log into his gaming computer. But when I flipped open the laptop the login screen was pulled up. Somehow the computer had restarted, maybe through an automatic update or something. And so after having access to his personal accounts for the last few months, I now have no access to anything at all. I have his phone, his MacBook and his gaming computer, all of which I have no ability to log into.

It hurts. The final finality.

Along with the electronics I brought home from my mom’s place, I also brought home a few pairs of his shoes. He had quite the nice collection of shoes, and we both wear size eleven. I thought it might be nice to have some of them. Most of the shoes were only lightly used.

This morning I slipped on a pair of Matthew’s grey Vans. I spent the day literally walking in his shoes. Perhaps I’ve walked a mile in them by now.

While he was alive I tried to empathize with him. He was always hard to read. He rarely wanted to be vulnerable with me, always wanting to make it seem like things were ok. If things hadn’t been ok recently, well, he was definitely on the upswing, he’d say.

But he wasn’t on the upswing. Not very often at least. He was a young man that constantly was struggling with anxiety and depression, bipolar disorder, and sobriety. I’m not sure why he never wanted to talk through those things with me. I wish he had more often. I wish I had asked more pointed questions.

Looking down at my feet and seeing his shoes today has weighed my heart down a bit. I wish he was wearing these shoes today instead of me.

I spent the last few days of this past week cleaning and organizing my garage. I’ve used the time to stay quiet, to think.

I did a lot of good work in my garage. I set up shelves. I set up a mini-work station, with a desk made from some particle board I cut and two saw horses. I mounted a TV.

I’ve started organizing my tools and equipment throughout the garage, too. My brother would like how I’ve set up my garage. He would think that it’s cool. He would get excited about many of the same details that excite me about it all. I have my electric bike resting next to my desk and I have my electric skateboard hanging on the wall, Casey Neistat style. Not many of my friends would even know what that means or looks like, but Matthew would. And he would love it.

I set up a few Alexa speakers in there, too, and I can just imagine chilling and listening to Kid Cudi or Childish Gambino while Matthew and I talked about YouTube videos or Rafa still playing awesome on clay in 2021.

The dogs smell my brother’s shoes intensely every time I walk by them. They can smell my brother’s cats on them, I think.

There’s something immensely sad to me about his cats outliving him.

And so I end the day. I slipped off my brother’s shoes and have them sitting next to my bed. I’m feeling his loss a bit more these days again.

Published by Andrew

a ragamuffin dad planting some sequoias

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