photo credit: www.lisamccourthollar.com
He was enveloped in darkness. Sitting in a dank hole. Naked and surrounded by the fetid smell of his own feces and urine. Drip, drip, drip. Something-water, maybe- kept hitting the top of his head. He got up to feel his way around. SLAM! His body rammed against metal bars. He gripped them tightly, screaming: “HELP! HELP! HELP!” No words left his throat. Something was attempting to pry his hands from the bars. He kept hearing his name and the sounds of rasping breath…
“Tom, Tom, wake up!” It was his wife. She was trying to loosen the grip of his own hands on his neck. He suddenly became alert but his breathing was labored and he was sweating profusely. “You were having a terrifying dream.” There was concern in her voice. He muttered something about pressure at work. Looking out the bedroom window, he noticed that the sun was rising. Good time to clear his head with a ride. He dressed quickly, filled his water bottles and hit the road.
He refused to think about the nightmare. Instead, he focused on the rush of riding fast and tackling the hills. For the next week, he was on automatic pilot. Rise early. Ride until it hurt. Work relentlessly. He made love with his wife each night with the sole purpose of feeling exhausted in order to ward off the fear of another dream.
The remedy was short-lived at best. He felt on edge. While work was going exceptionally well and home life was harmonious, the old churning and burning was kicking his ass. His boss was pleased with the latest project’s completion ahead of deadline and suggested that he take an added break to spend time with his family. Tom took this as a sign. A way to remove himself once more. He had two more days at work to come up with another escape plan.
He told his wife nothing of his boss’ recommendation. He kept his bike at work on purpose so as not to raise any suspicion. When he awakened on Thursday morning, he told his wife that he was going to ride his bike on a route from the office. He took the first of two small bags with him and placed them in his truck. The following morning (still with the bike at work), he pretended to have gotten a text from his boss asking him to come into work ASAP. He took another bag with him under the auspices of another “ride” later. Just before noon, he placed a call to his wife, telling her that he had been called out to the West Coast site to fix a problem. He would need to fly out in the afternoon. No need to worry about clothes he told her. He had enough with him because he had been cycling from work.
By the end of the day, he was ready. The hard part was over. Surely a week of distraction would help cleanse the dirt from his mind and spirit. Before he knew it, his truck was moving northward once again.