Bright Lights - Friday, Nov. 27, 2020
Friday, Nov. 13, 2020 @ 9:52 pm
Night Running in the Rain
I tie up my running shoes. Zip up my jacket.
Outside there is darkness and rain.
I leave my apartment and go out onto the sidewalk. Heaps of soft and broken leaves. Headlights reflected on the wet asphalt.
I turn on my headlamp and start to run towards the park, towards the ocean.
I crack open the fortune cookie and pull out the strip of white paper.
“This isn’t a fortune; this is an aphorism. Can I open yours to find out about your future?”
“Sure, go ahead. I’m pretty sure that my future includes you, though.”
I run down the middle of the road. I am alone.
Rain on my face. The temperature is barely above freezing.
My feet fall into puddles, and cool water splashes up against my legs.
I dry my hair and style it long and straight for the first time since before March. I haven’t had it cut yet, and the layers are becoming awkward after a year's worth of growth. The light wave of brown and gold sweeps to my navel. When did it get this long?
He unlocks the door to my apartment and lets himself inside. I turn to look at him. He stops and stares at me. His face. The look on his face. A softness, an admiration.
“You look…” he pauses, “you look perfect.”
I reach the seawall and run alongside the ocean. Freighters lit up off shore, hanging in the night. Where does the sea end and the sky begin?
I am alone. I run for a half mile, alone in the dark. The tide is low.
I feel strong. Happy. Free.
We are in a hotel hot tub set on the side of a mountain.
Two women join us, apologizing for interrupting.
We talk with the women for a half hour, steam rising up between the conifer trees. Russell’s arm loosely around my shoulder. I sip beer from a plastic cup.
We rise to cool off in the pool.
“It was really great to meet you both,” one of the women says. “It’s nice to have a real conversation, without masks, in a relaxed setting.”
“The feeling is mutual,” I respond.
“And one more thing,” she says. “You probably hear this all of the time, but you honestly have just the greatest smile.”
“She really does, doesn’t she?” Russell agrees.
I shrug and blush and say thank you and turn and dive into the cool water.
I turn and run back towards the city.
Rain has soaked through my shoes.
My lungs feel clean and strong.
I run and run and push for no reason other than the simple joy of movement.
“Find the woman who is always the most interesting in the room… The one who, even at her worst, is still exciting, who’s never boring. That’s the one.”