My friend just died. Reluctantly. He had been close to the end a few times earlier but had managed to step back, typically to resume the dead lifts in the neighborhood gym and to pace the road nearby. To maintain the hard muscle he had since I knew him in college.
But I think it killed him that he could not get his immunities back. Anymore than he could loosen the tension which had always been his essence.
Jumping from his chair in our room as if a round had just missed his head. Up and away from the text that had been so impenetrable to his stare. Pacing our little room like a jail cell, grabbing the window frame with all his might as if he would pull it out of the socket. And then only to drop back to his desk for another round.
And so while vitiated by cancer, that was how he confronted death and why, I venture, his immunities failed before they might have.
In the months before, as his defense could no longer hold---as the perimeter got tighter and tighter till he was alone at the center---he wrote a beautiful story. About a man in love. About him in love....called "A Hard Game."
That was, I imagine, his Yin Yang, which somehow lived as one within the man who flew up from his hunch over the books or who popped the veins on God Almighty dead lifts.
Read: Baseball: A Hard Game by Tony Judge