Thursday, February 11, 2010

Oh Brother

I was exhausted. I was no longer sure which time zone I was in. Truth is, upon waking up, I had no idea where I was. Still, after only three hours of sleep, I got out of bed and got dressed to run. I wouldn’t have missed that run for the world.

Growing up, I had a very close relationship with my brother. We shared more than a room. We shared secrets. I recall many evenings falling asleep on the lower bed of the bunk bed discussing life, or, when we were too young to care about such things, a good laugh. I wasn’t the easiest roommate. I was a slob. Still, more often than not, Eric who was always organized, put up with me. He paved the way for me with our parents and with school. Despite a difference of over four years, we were more than brothers. We were friends.

I don’t whether he felt the same way, but for me things changed after he got married. Obviously we would no longer be roommates. Still there was more to it than that. Our conversations were both less frequent and less intimate. We still spoke, but the topics seemed to lack gravitas. Although, several years later, both of our families moved to Israel, they stayed and we did not. This lack of physical proximity came with an additional lack of emotional closeness. It wasn’t anything personal. We each had families, jobs and other responsibilities. The seven hour difference in time and the lack of face time made things tougher. I never doubted his love. I just missed him.

When I started running, I did not realize it would help bridge the gap. It certainly didn’t start out that way. At first, running was just another topic about which we could make small talk during our infrequent conversations. Eric, who had been running for a number of years, encouraged me in my quest to lose weight. He even signed up with Team Lifeline so that we could run together. Of course, we didn’t really run the race together. He finished 25 minutes before me. Running seemed like a parallel to our relationship. It was something we did at the same time, not something we did together.

Things changed during my recent trip to Israel, for my nephew’s bar mitzvah. After I woke up the first morning jet lagged and more tired than I had been in a long time, we went for a run together. Over the two hours we were together, we talked in a way that comes naturally to people running together. We had nowhere else to be and nothing else to do. During that run and the subsequent runs during the trip, we reconnected. Truth is I only recall some of what we talked about. It doesn’t really matter. For the first time in a long time, our relationship was back.

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