Saturday, June 1, 2013

Ghouling it

My son and his best friend ran a Zombie Race today. 

For the uninitiated, that's one of those crazy who-would-want-to-do-one-of-those? activities involving mud, obstacles, water, more mud and, oh yes, people dressed like zombies who chase you around trying to steal your three flags (i.e. red strips of fabric) and thus, render you dead. 

Did I mention there's mud?

Charlie spent Friday, the night before the race, with Luke. They woke at the crack of dawn and Lynne (Luke's mom and my dear friend) drove them and Laura, Luke's girlfriend, to the race site in Forney. 

A day or so earlier, Charlie had offhandedly asked if I wanted to go watch them run. I hemmed a bit and hawed a little more. Probably not, I finally said. Saturdays are my mornings to run and -- especially if I haven't been during the week, which this week I hadn't -- to go to yoga class.

"Oh, that's fine," he said. 

Friday around 6 though, I began reconsidering. True, maybe the glass of beer I had with a friend opened my spirits a bit and figured into my change of heart. Mostly though, skipping the chance to share this event with my son -- who was almost giddy at the idea of doing it -- gnawed at me.

In a day or a month or a year, I asked myself, which would I remember? Surprising Charlie by showing up, and then getting to watch him race? Or going to a yoga class that yes, though beloved, would probably blend with all the other yoga classes? (Unless, of course, this would be the one where I actually did go crashing to the ground instead of merely anticipating I would).

The answer was embarrassingly obvious.

Charlie and Luke signed up for the 8:30 wave (race lingo for a group that starts off together). When I saw them talking to Lynne and to Laura, I called Charlie's name. He turned, looked surprised and oh so happy to see me. He gave me his big smile, and hugged me hard. 

 He and Luke trotted off to the starting line. We took our places by the last mud pit and waited, amusing (and ooking out) ourselves by watching people crawl on their bellies like slime-encrusted reptiles through gnat-encircled muck. 

We finally saw Charlie and Luke a field away, running toward us.
They reached the mud, flopped down on all fours without hesitation, and made a valiant slosh through the final obstacle -- yeah, smiling even. Then they climbed a tower, slid down into a rather filthy water trough, were chased by a few more zombies, and got their well-earned medals. 

They didn't shower right away, instead recounting their journey and making plans for the next. Heck, Lynne and I got so caught up in the moment, we even started talking about doing one of these. 

We all stuck around for awhile, not wanting to leave this oasis of mirth and music. A giant screen showed a video of the Village People singing YMCA, so what choice did we have but to join in?

All this happened hours ago. I came home, swam some laps, relived the race some more with Charlie, ate too many pita chips, called my best friend, and haven't done much of anything else. 

But the precious few hours from this morning follow me like a happy shadow. Long after Charlie's washed that last bit of mud from his ear, they'll echo in my heart, as all good decisions should.

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