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#1 2016-01-31 22:14:38

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Перевод с английского. Публицистика.

When the littlest things are really the biggest things

By Beverly Beckham

My husband insists I shouldn’t have been kick-boxing with women 20, well, actually 30, years younger than I am. But it wasn’t real kick-boxing, It was kick-boxing light, and I did it only once and only for a half-hour and it was fun and didn’t hurt at all.

Until I was walking to my car. That’s when age, old bones, maybe even the fates, caught up with me.

It’s funny about body parts. We’re made up of flesh and blood and muscles and cartilage and appendages that stick out of us like twigs on a stick figure. But mostly we go on our merry way unaware of our vulnerability, unimpressed that the knee bone’s connected to the thigh bone and the toe bone’s connected to the foot bone until we stub a toe or hurt a knee. And then it’s like waking up a sleeping infant, all that sweet, lovely, predictable stillness gone in an instant, replaced by a shrieking, wailing, very needy alien.

I never in my life paid attention to the space behind my left knee — it was just there like the space behind my right knee — until I felt a hitch, a kink, something I thought would work itself out. But it didn’t. In a matter of days, it went from annoying to painful and I went from running around, faster than a speeding bullet, to stopped dead in my tracks.

Kick-boxing apparently was my kryptonite.

Ten weeks later the baby’s asleep again. The knee is back to what it was. But I am not. And I don’t want to be.

I used to have a friend who had ALS. I used to visit him at New England Sinai Hospital where he lived attached to a ventilator. When he was alive, I didn’t take walking or talking or breathing or eating for granted. I learned from Sal not to be annoyed by the long lines at Shaw’s but to be grateful that I was physically able to wait in them. I constantly noticed the grace of the human body, all the things it can do and does: bend, skip, press a button, shake a hand. I savored every meal, every food choice, the bounty, because Sal said he missed eating most of all.

But time tempered these lessons. When you can drive yourself places, when you can run to catch a train, when you can hurry across a street, when you can walk from one end of Costco to the other, when all your body parts are working perfectly, when you can hear and see and breathe and feel and swallow, you forget the miracle that all these things are.

Before I tried kick-boxing, I was on a four-month gym spree, heading out every morning, working out, feeling better than I’ve ever felt. Feeling maybe even a little bit bulletproof.

And then I hurt my leg.

And it slowed me down. And in those weeks of limping and grimacing, I regained an appreciation for people who hurt every day, but who get dressed and go out anyway.

Sal went out. It took a village, plus a van driver and hours of preparation. I have a picture of him all bundled up in his reclining wheelchair caught in a downpour at St. Peter’s Fiesta in Gloucester. He is cold and he is soaked to the skin. But he is beaming.

I watched an elderly man cross the street the other day. He was stooped and bent over his walker, and his steps were slow. But there he was. On his way to the post office.

Crossing a street. Breathing fresh air. Holding a cup of coffee. The littlest things are really the biggest things.

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