I put my earphones in my right pocket, a failed attempt to drown out my thoughts with Audioslave and Justin Timberlake. I hear footsteps on wet concrete and breathing that becomes ever increasingly fierce. Occasionally, the metal of the earphones cling and clatter.
I used to love running. The feeling is almost foreign. The muscles in my thighs strain at each step; my legs are heavy.
Come on, Tim. You’ve been carbo-loading for years for this. When was the last time you did this?
My body goes through a curious dilemma. It wants to overheat. It wants to sweat. But it’s cold, far too cold. It must be only 40 out here. My thighs burn. Shin splints. But my body is numb.
My thoughts are in overdrive.
I used to run up this street. The palm trees, I suppose, are swaying in the wind. The sights are familiar, rekindling old memories. My first crush lived here. One of the first times I voted was here. My best friend used to live down here.
Oh, what was his name?
I reach the half-mark of my run. For a lifetime, this house was my finish line. A light glows through the blinds.
You can stop here, Tim. It’s been a good run. No need to continue.
I double back from where I came from. I glance back to see how many cars are in the driveway. I suppose my sister is home.
Time to retrace my footsteps.
I realize what I believed to be my earphones is actually my necklace. I try to adjust the guitar pick, but it seems to have found a niche on my right shoulder.
My thoughts wander to my grandfather’s move. But that I’ll save for another time.
In the street lights, this black shirt has faded to blue. For split seconds, I question if it’s even mine.
I begin to drag my feet.
Just a little bit more, Tim. Pick up your stride. Breathe. You’re almost done.
And then I am. My body hunches over. My breathing becomes violent. My mind goes blank.
I love this feeling. My thighs burn. My legs are connected to the floor.
Two miles under my belt. That’s two more than I ran yesterday. Two more than I’ve ran in years.
Hopefully, the same two miles I’ll run tomorrow.