You could set a clock on her training schedule. Every Wednesday at noon she would run by as I sat by the river eating my lunch. A small woman, late twenties if I were to guess, athletic build. Her determined look in her eyes reveal that she would be running regardless cold or rain. Or any other reason the weather would give me to eat my lunch behind my desk, for that matter. Her feet are hitting the pavement with small and light steps, almost as if she’s running on hot coals. This is not a fun run, it’s a speed training. And she’s in a hurry too. She looks a successful corporate something, choosing her work out over lunch. Gotta rush back to those business afternoon meetings, right?
After a while, we started to recognize each other. First with a little nod of the head, then with a short ‘hi’ as she ran by. Leaving me with a muffled ‘hi’ back as I just had taken a bite of my sandwich, looking up from my Facebook timeline. As we continued our short meetings at the riverside, I could see her smiling from a distance as she recognized me sitting on the wooden bench. Even from that far I would caught her adjusting her posture, looking at her sports watch and then accelerating her step, moving her arms determinedly. She was using me as a mile marker.
But that was ok. I liked the little role I played in her life. I wanted to be her. A modern athletic warrior princess, happy and fierce, free and dutiful, natural and pretty. I imagined it was me that would carve out time for her work out in between work obligations. I fantasized being her with strong legs and lean arms, my head held proudly in the wind, my ponytail bobbing behind me. Who would walk into the office after a run without having to catch her breath. It was me that would be outgoing enough to smile at total strangers and greet them as if I knew them.
But suddenly I lost track of her. Maybe she moved to another work place or town. And as my lunches at the river got lonelier, they lost their appeal. More and more often I found myself eating my lunch at my desk, eating my lunch staring at the office building blocking my view from the river.
As I lost track of track of her, I lost myself. Her brilliance that I thought had rubbed off on me, faded with every next Wednesday that I didn’t see her running. I almost forgot about her when today I looked into the mirror in the washroom. I looked at my reflection and whispered: Where are you? I miss you.
Writing 101 Day Six’ twist: Turn your post into a character study.