On Friday morning I was blissing out, running east into the sun and against wind as hot and stiff as a blow dryer. It was the first day of summer and I luxuriated in every detail. I drank them in. Gnats perished on my glossy shin bones. Saltwater dripped into my mouth and eyes. I inhaled wildflower pollen and sunscreen and celebrated the heat rising up and pounding into my shoes. My work for the week was caught up, and we had a fun weekend planned. That previous night I had even dreamed of Jocelyn in that way that always reassures me she is okay and maybe even dreaming of me, too. I was smiling-with-my-heart-and-mouth-open while I ran, watching neither pace nor distance. Just happy to be on the go.
Then a whooshing, tttzzz-aaahhh sound assaulted my periphery from the left. The shadows were all behind me, and my music was a bit too loud, so all of my terrible reflexes ignited at once and I jumped mid stride, yelped, then screamed because my own yelp scared me, and all of this nearly caused an approaching female bicyclist to wreck. She wiggled on her two-wheeled vessel, gave her own little yelp, and stuck her muscular legs out to either side to regain balance. Her arms stiffened, and her helmeted head twisted to look back at me and, thankfully, laugh. We both started laughing so hard that I had to stop running to catch my breath. She pedaled away (almost) calmly down the trail.
About 45 minutes later my new BFF had changed direction and was headed toward me now. I saw her from a reasonable distance, started laughing again, quite involuntarily, and she also laughed a little but punctuated the whole exchange with a head tilt and Robert Duvall-style half-nod that said as plainly as any unspoken gesture can say, “Fool me once…”
Maybe she didn’t realize we were BFFs.
I regained my composure (mostly) and jogged in my very own lane past her, definitely surrendering the opportunity for some last minute eye contact. Still running into the glare, still lapping up my own sweat, still loving that so much hard work and consistent effort lately had brought us to the brink of a true summertime weekend. The luscious details are icing on a cake of Overall Life Satisfaction, and I am forever grateful.
I wish I could find this bicyclist and apologize for nearly wrecking her. And ask her if she is always so apt to being almost wrecked. I also want to know if she felt as happy that morning as I did, barring our near miss with asphalt. She definitely had that glow, that strong energy of Life Right This Minute, and I love thinking about it.