365 Ficlets – Day #237 ~ “Frostrow Fell”

“Left, right, left, right.”

The mantra in his head was not any more complicated than that as he jogged up the rutted path towards the golf course hut. It was fifteen years since he had tried to run all the way over Frostrow Fell and back, but the months of training to get this far told him that he was ready. Everyone wants to believe, later in life, that the effortless fitness they had at school can be recaptured.

He was halfway up the track; already he could see it growing longer and longer with every step. His breathing was already staring to become shallow and desperate, and his legs were starting to burn from the lack of oxygen. Even then he knew that when he reached the hut he would have to turn left and run up to the real summit; no time to recover.

It was all he could do to just repeat his simple mantra over and over, as if anything more complicated would allow an internal discourse, and as soon as he started to reason about his choices, he could weasel out of doing the run.

“Left, right, left, right.”

New Year…

First of all, best wishes to all for a successful, happy and peaceful New Year in 2009…

Now I’ve got that out of the way…

I’ve been thinking about New Year quite a lot over the last couple of days – natural enough I imagine, I think many people are given to moments of reflection at this time of year. It occurs to me that I am not entirely easy to please when it comes to the passing of one year and the birth of the next; that I tend to find myself suffering a little melancholy and occasionally a little ennui with the whole performance, and I’m not one hundred percent convinced that I don’t simply create those things for myself.

I have been heard to say that New Year’s is a time that I enjoy best when I have a partner, that welcoming the coming year in the arms of a lover is the best and most optimistic way of embracing the future, and there is no doubt that New Year 2006/2007 was a time of very real happiness for me, and that apart from the last New Year we spent together I enjoyed the first three New Year’s Eves that El and I spent together very much, and that they were all the better for spending them with her and being in love and being genuinely content.

Apart from those times I can only really remember being miserable at New Year until really very recently, and while I have genuinely enjoyed the last two – last night and the year before – they have not been quite as perfect as the times that I have been entwined. The sense of family and belonging that I have felt celebrating New Year in Belgium with my brother’s soon-to-be in-laws and their family, as well as our own, has been unparalleled in my life. While I mean to offer no dis-service to my Uncle and his long-standing double-bill of Birthday Party and New Year’s Eve party I never really felt entirely comfortable at them before my grandmother (his mother) died on New Year’s Eve and certainly after that point they became somewhat dour affairs that I escaped at every possible opportunity. Interestingly I feel pretty confident that I would have a whale of a time with them and my cousins these days, as everyone has become more laid back and I am more confident about who I am and I no longer feel as though I am on the outside looking in with them, but anyway I digress…

I suppose the point of all this is that I am not comfortable with the realisation that whether I like it or not there is a part of my head that wants to see the future unfold with someone by my side, and that part of me rebels, even now in the bosom of family and joy, against single-ness at this time of year. There are a thousand reasons why being with someone is a good thing, but there are also a thousand reasons why it’s not a healthy thing to make being involved a contingency for happiness, and while I feel that I have been doing better and better with regard to being capable of experiencing real joy and fulfillment as a single man, this time of year seems to be a reminder of the long road ahead, towards contentment, should it be my fate to remain a bachelor.

It’s all yet to unfold and there are many twists and turns that none of us can see before another year is done – there is as good a chance as any that this year I will bump into the person that I will be with for the rest of my life, or for a day/night, week or month… I suppose that for more reasons than simply avoiding another New Year as a singleton I hope that there is love for me in 2009, but at the same time I really do hope that if I am alone this time next year that I have found a way to not feel this way, but instead to revel in the possibilities that a new year brings and to cherish the memories of a year passed.