I’m broken.

Neck, shoulders, back. A saddle-shaped bruise on the inside of my thigh. A bit of sunburn too. Some insect bites.

I get out of bed. As I start to move, more pain. Pain where I didn’t expect it. The stairs take some time.

Make a cup of coffee. I stare into space. Take a sip – it’s gone cold.

Walk to the shop for milk. I stand in the vegetable aisle for ten minutes – I’ve forgotten what I need. I walk out with bagels and a can of coke. Back in for the milk, staring at the cashier blankly as she tries to make conversation.

Pick up my bag. My arms hurt too. I make a point of looking up the name of the part later – my bicipital aponeurosis.

Rest on the way home. I’m willing myself on. Once through the door I can sit down – maybe go back to bed for a while. I take out my keys and relief washes over me.

An hour or two at the skatepark yesterday. That’s all it was. Nothing fancy – nothing dangerous or scary. I guess this is what riding BMX in your late thirties does to you.

I’ll be back tomorrow.

The next day comes but so does the pain. Excuses are made.

Week by week, a little progression. The drop-ins get steeper, the airs get higher, the lines get harder.

The aches get achier, the bruises bruisier.

But I’m caught in a spiral now. Every time I do something new, a door opens, pushing me on to do something else.

Still terrible, but a little less terrible than before…

Words and photos by James Oaten

This post is a follow-up to ‘When the hell did this happen…?’

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