That fated hot January evening, while gasping for air, questioning my life choices and the strength of my legs, if they could really carry my newly acquired heavy behind, hips and thoughts – I caught a glimpse of your rather strong leg and red jacket disappear around the corner.
A couple of months ago, I abandoned my old trail in the bourgeois neighborhood as I felt the need to compete with anyone I found during the run. My competitiveness just kicked in with only one question on my mind, can I run faster than them? And there were many runners. It was exhausting, and before long, all joy was lost.
To rediscover it, I decided to scout for a new trail. I had been on this new one a few weeks and I hadn’t run into anyone, so I figured it was a virgin territory. Here, I could run without competing with anyone, but myself. It was hillier, more challenging and I found myself struggling, maybe because of the aforementioned behind? It was a fun struggle. I didn’t have to show off my running prowess to bystanders or road traffic.
That split second I saw you, my blood rushed backwards. I was at a point where I needed to stop and breathe, or crawl after you in a race. I chose the former. I covered the rest of the hill in a leisurely stroll so my heart could return to its pace.
I met you again, stretching, clearly done with your run while I was on my third lap, bugs drowning in sweat on my face.
“You’re doing great! See you tomorrow,” you said very kindly. I smiled nervously because I couldn’t trust my voice. Does anybody else lose their voice if they don’t use it in 30 minutes? Just me?
I ran 3 more laps but you didn’t stop racing through my mind. I had looked at your face very briefly, so I didn’t really look. Did you have a beard? Did you have a full head of hair? Wait, are you bald? Were you wearing a beanie? If so, why were you wearing a beanie in these boiling temps? How long have you been running? Are you married? I wondered.
I didn’t run the following day because I worried that if I found you, I would try to race you, which wasn’t aligning with my new taking it easy lifestyle. However, I almost ran a dozen laps 2 days later around our hill so I could accidentally bump into you, in vain. I was quite irritated, can’t you run every day?
Our brief encounter was starting to fade into oblivion when a red jacket grabbed my attention again, you were standing at the top of the hill, gesturing for me to move faster. My heart went into overdrive, I dare say our encounters are going to be pretty fatal to my fragile heart. I did a mental check to see if I was wearing the same gear I had on when we first met.
One time at a party, someone asked me if I hadn’t returned home since a week had gone by when they saw me wearing the same outfit at a different event.