I have waited on things before. The call, the knock, the message, the notification, the minute. It is never the same. Never the same nervousness. Never the same anxiety. Never the same electrified silence. As I sat cooking in the noon day heat, the wind stopped to bask in the sun. The open windows could not draw the cooler air. The sweat run down my face. The reek was all I could smell. Yet my face watched a screen while my ears strained for word through the phone. The new row appeared before the buzz shook the desk.
My fingers had ran miles over the keys as my eyes strained against the glare. My mind tiptoed to the door, shut it and ran. My body relocated to a couch. 8 minutes. Only eight minutes. I jumped onto the ground 30 minutes later. My mind had only just returned. It needed a minute. Or was it another 30? Then the code loaded and it all came back to me.
I thought it would take less than thirty. So I warmed up my ankles, tightened my shoelaces and strode up the slope. Steps in and I was at a crawl, breathing heavy. It didn’t feel like I was walking. More like sliding up hill. When I got to the flat section, all I could think of was lying down. Just then, someone casually walked past in dress shoes. I had trainers on. Sweat pouring, ankles aching, I trudged along. A jogger sped past. The dress shoes man had long since disappeared. The slope wasn’t that much easier. It felt good to come to an end away from a start nearly an hour away.
There is an easy and a hard side of the road I use to get to work. The hard side has one short stretch of sidewalk that motorcyclists park their bikes on, a patch of tarmac leading up to a junction where one has to stand at the edge of a four foot gutter or be in the way of the cars that come up behind you. On the easy side, the sidewalk has only one ditch and a sack of manure and four concrete pots. You can see the cars coming towards you. It’s also the crowded side of the road. So crowded, you have to walk on the tarmac sometimes.
Maybe there are no easy sides.
…is on. I feel it. I see it. Is it growing? Is it running away from us? Stretching to keep less month at the end of the money. And it’s only October. In simpler times,taking a hike had nothing to do with prices—for gas or anything else. More 2-0-2 time might actually be beneficial. In the meantime, I overthink certain decisions and watch the world get on.
I missed my ride so I had to take a two hour detour and sit through traffic at a standstill. I missed my ride so I sat one of five looking out at a day’s dark watching others walk by. I missed my ride so I walked along almost by memory; starlight was not bright enough for the journey. I missed my ride so I couldn’t stay awake. I couldn’t be tempted by a narrated or filmed story. I missed my ride so I had four hours to think of some of the ways things could be different. I missed my ride and saw people I had not seen in years in the world beyond the pane. I missed my ride. I didn’t miss the sights.
The red man stood akimbo. A security guard and several cars snuck past. The red man watched the opposite side of the road: unblinking, unwavering till…The green man appeared and turned left. Left before right with a wide brimmed hat. He strode like he was leaping over puddles. Just as he measured another stride, the red man appeared.
I glanced through the blinds. And glanced again. Past the clean pane streaks criss crossed the bright of day. They fell out of the low dark grey–after midday. I could almost smell wet soil; hear the rush of water through valleys in a light brown jaunt. Tarmac turned wet then slicker than sweat falls. The sky growled. The clouds parted. The tarmac was dry. The roofs in the distance touched the blue.
A candle at both ends? Talk about the weight of two rods. I feel the creak in the waning hours. The pinch in the back. The spring that will not step. I dread bounds. Short walks feel like an exodus. The return to more activities like a treacherous climb. I straddle edges and won’t look down. I crawl along these inches while I dream of running miles. For the moment, I will stick to trying to feel my airborne heels.
It’s not working! My phone is on the blink? With gigabytes empty?! I took to something more basic. No touch screens just buttons. Letters. Numbers. One instruction keyed in at a time. Finally, a bubble. Not a helpful one though. Thankfully something else works.