sunriseIt’s early afternoon and I’m on my second cup of coffee today. Which, I actually hope my wife doesn’t read this, because she is against my coffee drinking habit: she doesn’t want my blood pressure to go up from drinking coffee, because now that we’re married, we both have to reach at least the century mark before either of us even feels a sneeze coming on. This morning I pointed out my one small cup to her, happily relating to her how little coffee I was drinking.

Also this morning we both got up at 5:30. Thus, I’m having a second cup of coffee.

We got up early in order to exercise together. Brooke was talking the other day about her desire to exercise more, so that she, too, could reach a hundred. I agreed, suggesting that “the morning” would be the best time to exercise, before she goes to work and before I sit around writing and reading and pretending that these two things make me smarter than I actually am. I even went so far as to tell her that I would work out with her, that we could do it as a couple, spending time together in the process.

This morning was the first. We got up, sleepily dressed and stretched, and rumbled out the door by quarter to six. Now, I am a runner (read: jogger) and Brooke is mostly a walker, so we immediately had a problem. In the darkness of the early morning she didn’t want to walk alone. I couldn’t really blame her — I don’t want to walk alone in my neighborhood, sometimes. I worked at a homeless shelter for a little over a year, and during that time, I saw the police more often in my neighborhood than at a shelter designed for the homeless, the transient, the drug-addicted.

Denver mornings are cold before the sun comes up. It’s like the desert, all the heat disappearing from the dry ground, no clouds to hold it in. We shivered and jogged to warm up, the horizon was gray over the reservoir behind our house.

Then, we quickly slowed to a walk.

In order to get exercise for myself, while Brooke walked I jogged backwards, or alternated between lunges and sprints, falling behind, pulling ahead. Then, we’d walk together again before I’d fall behind doing lunges, sprinting to catch up. Whenever a car came I assumed normal walking position, so that the person behind the headlights that I couldn’t see wouldn’t think I was crazy. But, the whole experience was fun. At first, it was like we were the only people awake, all the houses were still dark and asleep, and we were sharing some great secret moment. The cold air filled my lungs and woke me up and made me feel alert. And, as time went on and we saw more cars I thought how everyone was missing out. They didn’t get to feel the early morning air like we did, or properly wake up their bodies, or share the love that Brooke and I share.

It’s funny what we do for love. I was doing lunges down a cold, dark street absurdly early this morning simply because someone I loved was there. It’s funny how Brooke’s longings become my longings, how I would never, ever have either the inclination or the discipline to be lunging down the street before six in the morning on my own. Maybe we are still “in love” and will laugh at this a few years from now, maybe we’re just taking our vows seriously, since in our wedding we uttered the phrase to each other: “Where you go, so will I.”

I talked to Brooke at lunch today, before cup number two of coffee. She said that she felt great, both more relaxed and focused, if that makes sense. She said that she was already looking forward to tomorrow morning.

I don’t know how long we’ll keep this early-morning-joint-exercise-routine up, but I know that while we do I will accept it as a gift: thankful for my wife and our healthy bodies and cool morning air that gives me goosebumps, for a love that has irrevocably attached us, for the feeling that we’re sharing a secret alone in the dark morning.

And, of course, for coffee. Someday soon I won’t need this second cup.