Character study of a runner

rotterdam skyline

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.

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14 thoughts on “Character study of a runner

  1. I like it! I especially like the way it shows how we’re all connected, sort of. She’s using you as a mile marker, you’re admiring her and using her for motivation. The ending is very powerful!

    1. Being Dutch, aggressive is mostly a compliment for me, but I thought I’d check for cultural differences:-) And as I struggled with this post I’m curious what I could improve. It doesn’t feel right yet, I don’t know.

  2. Sorry for confusion..I’m also still learning to use english words lol. And if you think you can improve then you should keep working on your piece. I really enjoyed it. But it’s your satisfaction in the end that matters. We all learning here:)

  3. I liked this very, very much. It was worth the wait. I might replace “But suddenly I lost track of her” with something like “But one day she didn’t race by” or something to that effect. But since she is a runner, the word “track” can have a double meaning and might be perfect. This is so good!

  4. Great job with imagery and capturing the readers’ attention. I’m not sure about the ending. Is the runner you or truly you doing some self evaluation?

    1. **spoiler alert**
      I meant the runner to be me. But as I read people’s comments, I realized it isn’t that clear. I’m still unsure if I should make it more clear or leave it like this. What do you think? How can I improve this post?

  5. Interesting take on the assignment! I never would have seen/imagined doing it this way. When I was reading the story I didn’t get the impression that you were talking about yourself but when I read the last paragraph I kind of wondered if that were the case and it made for a nice twist! Great job

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