It’s the last Friday in July again. It’s Sysadmin Day! Give your System Administrator a hug!
The rain commits a violent assault. She looks at the flooded landscape, and imagines insects struggling for short moments before death. She watches humans scurry, as though the torrent might cause their demise. She hears the sound of squealing brakes on the adjacent highway. She watches shallow-rooted trees sway precariously in the wind.
More rain in twelve hours than is typical for the entire month, they say.
On the other side of the mountains, the worst wildfires in the state’s history rage, unchecked.
She sits under the awning of the porch, and feels peaceful for a moment. In the sky, the juxtaposition of black and white seems a perfect analogy for everything she has ever known.
As quickly as she has had time to marvel, the winds blow the summer storm through. Robin’s egg blue skies wink through the cumulus, as the sun asserts its presence once again. Bright patches wave their greeting.
It is all over in minutes. She looks out at the lawn and imagines the feast that awaits the birds.
Life is pretty fucking gorgeous, she thinks, then feels as though she is being trite.
She loves the sun because it makes her miss the rain; in opposition of the masses. She loves the rains because of the beauty as they pass.
She is not a night owl, nor a morning lark. She just loves the difference.
Giddiness invades, and she tempers him with a sidelong glance.
“Mania, you are not welcome here.”
Giddiness demures. “You are right,” he says . The admonition quashes the emotion.
Giddy suddenly stands up straight. “But why?”
“You are foreign, and without a reason,” she gives a withering look. “I don’t need to explain.”
Giddy looks down at his hands. “What else do I do?”
His plaintive look of remorse immediately makes her self-conscious.
“Go play in the weeds!”
She realizes she is shouting.
“Sorry. I didn’t mean to yell.”
Giddiness nods, “I see.”
“Well. That makes one of us.” She puts on the stern librarian face. She is glad she is wearing glasses today.
“As you were,” she fires.
Then, she crawls into the trench.
Her footfalls fell into cadence with her breathing. Four in. Four out. Inhale, slap-slap-slap-slap. Exhale, slap-slap-slap-slap. Her earbuds were in, yet she kept the music off today.
Some say they run to clear their minds; a meditative process. When she runs, her mind doesn’t clear, and the thoughts bubble to a head, like an improperly poured beer. She just holds the mug, observing the overflow. It seemed like an exercise in learning how to be comfortable inside her own skull. More questions asked than answered, but, she now muses, is that how wisdom is accrued? Do the answers spring up, perhaps in the shower one day, taking you off guard in some enlightened, epiphanic bliss?
She brought her fingers to her brow and whisked off the sweat. Her tongue darted to her top lip and tasted salt. The right knee had long been a nuisance. The first mile was stiff and aching, her slight limp always imperceptible. It never hurt for long. One gets used to pain and adapts. The need for the endorphin rush supersedes the negative repercussions. Sure, later, a low-pressure system, a cold front, will move in. The temperature shift and humidity will cause her to lie in bed and clutch her knee in agony; a stabbing reminder of how she never heeds her instinct.
She sees the stoplight three blocks ahead, and sprints to it. Footfall/breath changes. Inhale, slap-slap. Exhale, slap-slap.
She asks, why do I do this?
Vanity would be the simple answer. She likes to eat. Can’t afford to grow out of her clothing. But, she wasn’t asking a simple question.
As she crossed the intersection, she switched on the music.