Running Trance

Hal injured himself the other night. It was fairly scary for that few minutes we thought he’d managed to break his collar bone. My husband and I were in our bedroom, our daughter in hers, the boys in the kitchen. We heard some fast running, followed by a loud crash that sounded like a door slamming. Then, Hal cried out – which I initially interpreted as him being angry after Daryl had beaten him to some destination and slammed the door in his face.

But then the pained crying began. He was not angry at all.

We rushed into the living room and saw Daryl coming around the corner from the kitchen toward Hal, who lay crumpled on the floor. I was relieved to see that, whatever had happened, it had not involved his big brother.

He had been running through the living room and, despite the fact that he was wearing rubber-soled shoes, had slipped at full speed. This had sent him flying forward, crashing hard into his train table.

My husband examined Hal and noticed that his clavicle appeared to be protruding from its usual orientation. He glanced up at me and said, “We are going to need to take him to the emergency room.”

But as he prepared to help Hal stand without moving his right shoulder, Hal stuck his right arm out to catch himself on the floor. After further examination, it became clear that he still had complete range of motion, but a nasty contusion on his shoulder. The protrusion was just his usual bony self. An inch closer to his neck, and he probably would have snapped his collar bone, but as it was, he was going to be fine.

The next morning, I was running on the treadmill and listening to Pandora’s Electronic Cardio radio. I began to think about how differently the previous evening could have gone. My imagination took off.

I imagined us taking him to the emergency room. I rode in the backseat comforting him. When we arrived, they eventually separated him from us for a time. I have some experience in this phenomenon. When I split my forehead open above one eye in a hockey collision, they separated me from my husband to ask if he had done it to me.

Whatever they asked Hal had confused him and he had answered in a way that concerned them. CPS got involved. My mind traveled down many side roads and dark alleys as the music pounded on, no words to disrupt my thoughts.

After awhile, they let me see my son. I held him tightly, yet gently, being very careful around his right shoulder. He nestled his head against my chest. I held it tight with one hand while wrapping the other arm around him. I closed my eyes and drank in the beauty and peace of holding my dear youngest son. It would all be okay.

And then – I stepped off the side of the treadmill.

The tenor of the treadmill belt changes when you aren’t running on it. It’s almost like it’s protesting your departure. I grabbed frantically at the handlebars and tried to jump quickly back on. I was disoriented and confused. What had just happened?

When I told my husband later, he said, “Yeah, you have to be careful listening to that music. They call it Trance for a reason.”

And that’s exactly what had happened. The music, combined with the sentimental feelings, had lulled me into a state where I was no longer aware of my real, physical state or surroundings. I had closed my eyes, not just in the daydream, but in real life. For that brief second, I had actually been hugging my son. I was 100% there. In the moment. And as I leaned to the right in my hugging, I had leaned to the right for real.

Mind over body can be a powerful thing. And a dangerous thing too. Today, I made sure that my thoughts while running steered clear of anything too deep.