We layer sensibly. Wicking shirts hanging long over nylon tights. Hats and gloves. A gaiter for my neck—frigid air makes me hunch my shoulders, run stiffly. Today, the coldest day this year. But not uncomfortably so—in the twenties, not the teens. We slip into our running shells as we leave the house. Neon, both of them. Susan’s yellow, mine orange. Like a couple of highlighter markers, glowing bright under the winter sun. We bought these in 1995, fate and fortune keeping them in one piece all these years.
Walking now, the street beyond our house, coiled, like snakes or a spring. Loaded, anticipating, waiting for the other to run. Susan starts, I match her pace. Slow for me, relaxing. Silent, lost in thoughts of our own, yet probably the same. I worry: Eli, asleep in our bed with the flu. He’s never sick, not like this, until now.
We round a corner and find winter. A stiff wind cutting through our clothes, slowing our pace, leaving me thankful for that extra shirt and especially my gaiter. Wind chimes, high in a tree—the large ones from the garden store that always catch my eye, I’d like a set but can’t justify the expense—the wind chimes sing a low sloppy tune accompanied by the steady percussion of our matching footfalls. Bong, bong, pap, bong, pap, pap.
Topping Diamond Hill, we slow to a walk. An eight percent grade, thirty yards long. We’ve walked Diamond Hill since Susan’s hamstring pull. Safer, and not really cheating because it’s, well, downhill. Back to a run as the road levels out. Our walking conversation, the only words we’ve spoken since we started, ends. I listen for patterns and snippets of songs in our stride.
We pick up our speed for the final fifty yards—Susan a half step ahead of me, setting the pace—then glide to a walk at our driveway. A quick kiss and I step off for the rest of my run, feeling calm, content, more relaxed than I can remember.
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My depression from the start of the week began lifting as I wrote about it on Wednesday. Three days later, it’s gone, largely due to the kind thoughts and wishes offered by you, the bloggers in my life. Thank you.