M is for Marathon

“You know I do marathons. right? Something to do after getting out of the marines, right?” Neil glanced quickly in Jazz’s direction to see her nod. “Well, I fell down on the last one. What with Elisa being pregnant and Courtney going nuts over getting a script actually being produced after so many options picked up and timed out, I didn’t prep like I should have and sure as hell didn’t carbio load the day of. So I got to mile fourteen and keeled over. Well, not keeled…” He shook his head. “Nah, I really did. I fell and couldn’t get up. They fluid pumped me and then I got to spend the next two days while Elisa and Courtney took care of me.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Their bedside manners could use work.” He shrugged slightly. “They yelled at me for being an idiot as much as kissed my boo-boos.”

“That sounds like them.” Jazz had been friends with Elisa since preschool, and with Courtney since her best friend married her a decade ago.

“So I guess I should give up on marathons, right?”

“What? No!” Jazz turned her body toward the ex-marine. “You love it. Just because you didn’t make it to the end, you still did fourteen miles. I couldn’t do that on my best day back when I used to run track.”

“I’m just going by what you are say, right?” Neil’s lips pulled up at the corner. “That when you fail a marathon, you are a failure and should stop trying, right?”


“You ran a marathon today. You prepped for it, did everything right, and didn’t make it to the end, right?” Neil looked over for a second. Jazz frowned at him. “You are going to need days to recover from it, right? Self-care, exhaustion, recovery time. right?”

“Yesss,” she hissed, seeing what he was trying to do. “Learn you story-telling from Courtney?” she commented sarcastically.

“Nah, from staff sergeants. Just not adding the run around the far flag pole to think things over part,” he said turning at the first intersection into her neighborhood.

Jazz smiled. “And I am grateful for that. I didn’t run a marathon though. I just went to a party.”

“Nope. You ran a marathon.” Neil declared while he pulled up in front of her house. “Potatoe, patotoe. You are one of the bravest people I know, because every day is a marathon for you, and you try to do it every day. Sometimes you fall down, but you get up again. And that is incredible, right?” He stared at her until she nodded, then he hit the button to back door of the minivan and climbed out. “So let’s get you in, make sure everything is good for you, and get you set up for your next race, okay?”

“You don’t need to–“

“It’s what friends do, right?” Neil pulled out her walker out of the back.

Courtney bounced up behind him after parking Jazz’s car in the drive. “What do friends do?”

“Stuff.” Neil responded, leaving Courtney to close the raised door while he brought around the walker as Jazz got out of the vehicle.

“Yep, we do stuff for friends.” Courtney said looking back and forth between Neil and Jazz. “What are we doing?”

“Getting Jazz into her house and making sure she is good to go before we go, right?”

“Right. We got time for that.”

Jazz shook her head. “I don’t want to be a both–“

“Marathon. You ran a marathon.” Neil interrupted, putting out an arm to indicate Jazz had a choice of walking to her front door, or him helping her to her front door.

Courtney followed them. “Oh, god. He didn’t give you the marathon story, did he?”

“He’s done it before?” Jazz asked, stopping to get her breath after going up her front ramp, covering the issue by searching her purse for the key.

“Elisa keeps trying to help.”

“She is making a small human being for us.” Neil pointed out. “That takes a lot.” He held open the door while Jazz and Courtney went in as Courtney and Neil said together, “Marathon.”

They looked over at Jazz and smiled, clearly waiting. And she shrugged, guessing they do this all the time with Elisa. Together the three of them said, “Marathon.”

Jazz continued. “Okay, I won’t argue anymore.”

“Tonight,” Courtney smirked at the family friend, clearly having heard those exact words from her spouse. Elisa and Jazz had been two peas in a pod while growing up.

“Tonight,” she agreed. “No promises for tomorrow.”

“You know we love you.” Courtney said, hugging her.

“Yeah, I’m getting that.”

“So what do you need us to do, because we ain’t leaving until we do something, right?”

“I got the nurse’s aide coming Monday, so I don’t need much.” Jazz commented looking at the mess around her house. Abandoned projects, dishes, and clothes from the last two weeks. She reminded herself sometimes giving people the opportunity to help is as important as helping. “If you could clean up the dining room table and help me put things away from the party, that should get me through until she comes.”

“That’s it?” Neil asked.

“You sure that is all you need?” Courtney said as she picked up the trash on the table.

“Yeah,” she lied. While it wasn’t all she needed, it was all she could bring herself to accept.

The End


A to Z Short Story List Breakdown

Rainbow Spectrum (A to F)

Marathon Party (G to M)
4/8/2019 – G is for Gobi
4/9/2019 – H is for Horse
4/10/2019 – I is for Sherbet
4/11/2019 – J is for Jazz
4/12/2019 – K is for Keeper
4/13/2019 – L is for Loss
4/15/2019 – M is for Marathon

Next: Trigger: Cutting

3 thoughts to “M is for Marathon”

    1. I have several friends with chronic illnesses and seen their FB posts about prepping for a special day and the troth that will follow. Chronic illness isn’t for the weak.

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