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You happened to be with me that awful day at the triathlon, when exiting the swim portion of the race — 20 yards in front of the ballon arch exit — the top of my left foot struck something horribly sharp and menacing and immovable just below the surface of the waist-high sea water (I was already upright and running towards the shore) puncturing my flesh and severing the tendon to my big toe, which looked like a dark hole when I emerged from the water and didn’t bleed as profusely as I imagined later but put a quick end to my triathlon and not long after I was on my way to the emergency room to get my foot cleaned out and stitched up along with several other people who also lacerated body parts on the inexcusable water hazard in front of the swim exit (we later figured out that at least an hour — an hour! — passed between our injuries but the race officials did nothing to stop the bloodletting) only to find out later that I would need surgery to repair the tendon, which was a sad and debilitating experience for an athlete and became infected several times due to debris that remained from the ocean and though I was depressed and lonely post-surgery you still went on some pre-planned trip instead of staying with me and that was an added scar but nothing like the scars that you left me in the weeks and months that followed in the endless, convoluted, contorted back-and-forth of wills and desires and misunderstandings that continue to eat at me and confound me and anger me and dispirit me years after we somehow were able to call it quits.


Doug! This is gorgeous writing. The interweaving of the physical pain and the still gnawing emotional pain, along with the breathless prose that mimics the triathlete’s run, the terrible injury that gets worse and more complicated, all of it works. Bravo.

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