heat rises from the sun-baked valley. i call it a valley, even though it's hardly even a hill. i pass a woman with a young grandson, both wearing coats and squatting on the hillside sharing food out of a paper bag. they don't seem to understand why i am wearing a t-shirt and shorts, but there is a sheen of sweat baked onto my face.

a silvered old man in a steelers jacket and beanie raises a fist to the sky as we pass each other. 'get on, keep it moving, get on out there,' he cheers, and i return his salute.

i sprint down the bridge in both directions, grateful for the crosswind that pulls moisture from my face and leaves only salt. it takes only fifteen minutes before i catch up to my number one fan of the day, and when i come up behind him under the tunnel, i shout, 'hey, i'm catching up to you!'

'oh! it's you! you made it back! keep on running, you keep moving there!'

his voice falls away, indistinct and blown apart by parkway traffic, but i round the corner with one hand raised high so he can see me. i run more upright, striding out, shoulders even, when i have an audience. i cannot yet imagine that i always have an audience.

19 March 2018 20:33

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