Monday, February 15, 2010

I believe

Gus Gus is a member of my running group. He was about 50 pounds overweight when we started running about two months ago. Since then he never lets me off the hook. Whether it's raining, 'cold' outside or getting dark, he's always calling at my gate asking to go running. He doesn't care if I'm hungover or tired or just don't feel like running. And since I met Gus Gus, I don't either.

He and I have been running six days a week (I give him Sunday off so he can go to church) for the past two months and he is the only student that hasn't missed a day. Most kids show up for 2 or 3 running sessions a week, but not Gus Gus.

We look ridiculous running together down the main highway in St. Vincent, but he doesn't seem to notice. He's short and noticeably overweight. I am tall and noticeably white. People yell and laugh at us. They shout 'fat man' and 'whitey' around every corner we turn. And finally one day I asked Gus Gus if it hurt his feelings when people called him 'fat man'. And, to my surprise, he said it did. He said it 'made his heart hurt', which in turn hurt mine. So whenever people shout 'run fat man run' at him, I have started saying 'shut up! he's not fat!' Every time I said this, Gus Gus would get the biggest smile on his face. And now, every time someone shouts 'run white girl run' he says 'shut up! she's not white!' We both run with big smiles on our faces now.

I have been wanting to write about Gus Gus for a while now. There's always that one thing that gets you up in the morning, the one thing that makes you keep going. Gus Gus is my thing. And today, I have never been happier or more willing to get out of bed. It was our two month mark. Two months ago I bought a scale and weighed Gus Gus and me. Two months ago Gus Gus was 200 pounds. Today Gus Gus is 182. Today Gus Gus tried on an old pair of jeans and they fit. Today Gus Gus walked taller than I have ever seen him. Today was a great day.

'The world is a fine place and worth fighting for'--Ernest Hemingway