Five Miles

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.

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