I always thought runners were doing a sacred, mystical thing I could never understand. Seemed so pure, or like asceticism, a hair shirt, finding enlightenment through pain.
My high school best friend was a runner. She invited me to run cross country with her–I laughed. But I guess I’m still thinking about it.
In my mind’s eye, I can see the slowest runner who ran cross country. She was a little bit fat, a serious white girl with freckles who always looked like she was in pain. But she was doing the thing.
I had considered taking her place. If I had joined, I would have been the slowest.
Maybe I would have enjoyed the sports camaraderie that looked so appealing, from the outside. I’m clumsy and never found love like that. Also, I thought sports were meaningless and a waste of time. Runners seemed very different from me. I knew nothing about pleasures of movement and the body.
Back then, I wanted to be a head. I thought I was destined for professor life–I imagined myself in an office at the University, surrounded by books. The body was an embarrassment and where death comes from. I wanted nothing to do with it. How silly I was, and smug.
I can imagine other lives, but they seem unlikely. I weigh 330 pounds, or did last time a medical assistant checked. My knees are precious, and I would kiss them, if I could. My ankles have always been wimpy.
Running is something I remember from elementary school as torture, the day we would run the mile. Those orange slices a mom would bring, to comfort us with brightness, and making myself drink water. Keep running. I would cough and cough. Looking back, I think I had chronic bronchitis, but no one was paying attention.
I thought maybe I would become a runner one day, but I’m doubting it. Old friend I barely know, I admire your resolve and feel sorry for the French tarts who don’t get to read with you in bed or experience the inside of your mouth.
Oh wait, that’s me. I feel sorry for myself, I don’t get to read with you in bed or experience the inside of your mouth.