Breathe in, breathe out. Breathe in, breathe out.
The air is calm and cool against my skin. There is a dampness still clinging to the city after an early morning rain. I love these kind of mornings. Some people nearby complain to each other about the “dreary weather,” but this isn’t misery – this is rejuvenation. I slide a finger against my smartphone and hit play. The sound of music rings in my ears and the corners of my mouth creep upward into an appreciative smile. I’m really going to live today.
I set off down the street, my feet pounding on the pavement carefully. The last thing I need to do is fall. It’s around 10:30 in the morning so the convention attendees are already running around. I pass a few people, smiling as I habitually do to new faces, and receive smiles in return. My heart is beating harder and my legs are beginning to remind me that they don’t like to run. I ignore them.
I cross my first street and skip over the large white blocks as if playing a game. A lady in bright pink hair with bright red lips smiles at me. I hear her shout a “Woo!” as I jog off. I feel like a rock star.
It’s been nearly three blocks and my legs, hips, and ankles need a break so I slow down to a walk. My body is buzzing with every step and it’s an exquisite moment where I feel alive. Suddenly the early alarm clock doesn’t seem to matter; this is what I wanted to do.
I jog a few more blocks up to the large park, walking intervals in between. I decide to turn around after stepping up and down the local government’s staircase several times. I’m feeling good, I think. Let’s get a little crazy. As if in total conspirator agreement, my music speeds up and hits a particularly enthusiastic note. I start sprinting down the street.
Yes! I’m doing it! Run! The world is my oyster or something and I … My body creaks and my knee stings me with pain. Nope, nope, nope, nope!
I slow down and come to a stop, my shorts halfway on an archeological dig to my uterus, and my ankles ready to secede and declare war on my foolish brain. I try to quickly recover my breath and fail to suppress a stupid, goofy smile. For that one moment, I was a superhero. I was really living.
My music calmed in time with my steps and I headed back to the hotel. I passed more convention attendees. I smelled more than they did. I didn’t apologize. I marched back quiet and proud that at least today, I chose to live and it felt wonderful.