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Galen and I had a lot of time to talk intimately while running along the exquisite Penny's bay -- Ben was too busy adding oil to partake significantly in our discourse. We spoke about Christianity, and our hopes, dreams and struggles in our lives. It was good to share with one another, this being our first time, ever, to do so.

 

Somehow, Galen knew about my learning of the Saam Jih Ging; and as if I had to prove this fact, towards the end of the race, two kilometers from the finish, I recited most sonorously the first twenty four verses of that epic; much to the chagrin of Ben, who would have preferred to chug away in silence, motoring not to my serenade. Unsurprisingly, we passed by Teddy and we exchanged heartfelt support for each other. Teddy's desire to run, and that filial connection of his, encourage me in this season.

 

We were running hard during the last half of the race so as to escape the likelihood of boarding the slow bus, which picks up straggling, struggling runners at the tail end of the competition. The prospect of getting on that vehicular monstrosity, especially after we had already sedulously run eighteen kilometers with only three left to go, verily sent shivers down my spine; although Ben seemed to have been seduced by the idea (haha!); and at times, actually, Galen and I each took one of Ben's hands and began pulling with all our might, as though tugboats straining desperately to move a lumbering, obstinate barge. Thankfully, we dashed punctually past all the checkpoints, the last of which closed three minutes after our frantic crossing. As always, I was yelling up a storm of encouragement which swirled around Ben's countenance; and hopefully, beyond his dazed visage, he was at least slightly amused by my words. I can now better understand in hindsight wherefore Galen selected me to run with Ben, because not only was I supposed to speak at length with Galen, I had to spur lustily my running partner on, if he were to finish the race on time!

 

At lunch, a lady sitting beside me asked me if I could read the Chinese characters on the menu; and in my replying to her query in the affirmative, by her incredulous look, I knew I was in trouble. I asked her if she believed me, and she said no, because, bluntly, she told me that my Cantonese had "a difficulty". To that I responded, smiling, in Cantonese, "Then, I will not be speaking to you.". I turned away, and for awhile after, she seemed to be a bit upset, if not deeply vexed by my eloquent reaction, which, I suppose, cut her as a sword through soft flesh. I couldn't help feeling a bit guilty at my possibly impertinent response; nevertheless I didn't want trouble and would rather cut her off cleanly than escalate the situation, or correct, for that matter, her misconception. I am glad to report that eventually, we were, without spoken language, able to smile at and to serve each other at our table.

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Taken on November 29, 2009