As I run, it’s already dark, but the heat does not let go. It hangs in the air, lazily leans onto the buildings. As I recall similar runs, my mind heads across the border.
Bright midday jog in Belgium – paving stone, white bridges, yellow pints of beer hanging out on cafe tables. Pre-sunrise run in India – overlooking a cliff, and racing eagles. Smoldering midnight sprint in Israel – darkness, silent boardwalk and crashing waves.
I stay with the run. As I settle into the discomfort, the street signs start flying by.
And for a minute there, I lost myself, I lost myself…
Coffee shop. Stop sign. Chinese restaurant. Korean restaurant. Japanese restaurant. Dry cleaners.
The music in my ear is like a mismatching soundtrack to a silent film. The strangers I pass move their lips, and gesticulate, but no sound escapes.
At a turnaround point, I stop and pause my watch. The heat swallows me. I blink tears of sweat; cheeks pulsating into my skull. Every inch of my exposed skin is melting.
Seconds fly by. Resting is almost more uncomfortable than the run itself. I turn around and charge. The air instantly cools the face. I feel myself slowing down. I’m tired. I’m floating above the asphalt and my feet drag miles behind. Helplessly. Ineffectually. Radiohead’s Karma Police does nothing to improve my pace. The body is protesting.
Arrest this girl…
I speed up in sheer defiance. I stay with the run. Street signs are flying by in reverse order. Dry cleaners. Japanese restaurant. Korean restaurant. Chinese restaurant. Stop sign. Coffee shop.
A tiny valley breathes cool air as I pass, and I think of all things wet and cold. Water. Snow. Crisp apples- right out of the fridge. Ice cubes.
My whole body is humming, pulsating.
She buzzes like a fridge…
My front door.
Ripping off the wet clothing, I rinse the night city off me. The lights, the sounds, the smells slide down my skin and down the drain.
But I still feel it inside.
The street signs firmly lodged in my chest. The stop sign is the vibrating tightness between my shoulder blades.