I remember it was a Thursday. There was a gym, and a treadmill, and four TVs. I was on incline setting eight and there were burning quads.
On TV number three, there was a race ready to post. There was a horse. Horse number ten. I remember ten because it is so significant in our family. That we once were ten, then we lost our ten and became nine and then Rukai made us ten again.
Horse ten was called Samurai Sword.
Samurai Sword. Rukai's name has something to do with the Samurai. Too long to explain here but know this made my thighs burn less and my heart race and my brain decide it was dead cert our horse, the hero of this particular tale, was going to blow away the field. Our ten horse, our Samurai horse, would win because Rukai will win in life and that is that.
I remember this is what I decided, on that Thursday, on that treadmill, up that incline to nowhere watching that TV as if I had a fortune riding on Samurai Sword winning that lone race on a sandy track on the other side of the world.
In a way, I did.
I remember post time arrived, and as I powered up that lonely incline, old Samurai Sword, well he just chugged out of the blocks like he had been sat on the crapper engrossed in a copy of Readers Digest and missed the gun. Then it struck him, they're getting away from me here, and he put down his head and he ran like his ass was on fire. But the field pulled away. So far away that our intrepid hero fell clean off the TV screen.
And even though I kept leaning to the right, trying to will him back on screen, Samurai Sword stayed in the caboose end of that race to the bitter end.
But, by god, that boy kept running.
We are tucked in for the night. Rukai is 6 days shy of a year old. Rukai's huge triumph today was grabbing my fingers and pulling up to stand, then bouncing - or as his paternal grandma calls it 'doing the bum shake' - before his knees gave out and he plonked down onto said bum, grinning with glee at what fun it all is. To grow. To progress. To shake bum. To keep on running. Like his ass is on fire.
To fall behind but damn it, that boy keeps on running.
Our little Samurai. Our little dragon.
You go on breathing your fire, my boy. You burn a hole clean through that box they packed you in that cold February day a year ago and you keep right on running.
I fear one day I will positively suffocate on my love.
Happy birthday my son.