She ran along the boardwalk, as she did every morning. It was her time to herself, her time to clear her head. Thoughts of the day’s agenda crossed her mind. She went through the small list in her mind: oil change, laundry, grocery shopping. She stopped going through her mental list when she saw him sitting there, outside the café, reading the newspaper. She slowed down as she approached him. Oblivious to her standing in front of him slightly out of breath, he turned the page of his paper.
“What are you doing?” She asked slightly out of breath.
He looks up from the paper and says, “Oh sorry, I didn’t see you there. I’m just reading the paper. Seeing what’s what with the world today. Out for a little run, are you?”
“You know I am.”
“Yes, I guess I do.”
“What’s your endgame here?”
“I’m sorry my what?”
“Your endgame. What do you expect?”
“I really don’t understand what you’re trying to say?”
“What do you want me to do? To love you back? For me to fall madly in love with you.”
“Madly in love?”
“Yes, because I don’t do that.”
“You don’t do that?”
“No, I don’t. That’s just not me. It’s not what I do. So I ask you again, what is your endgame here?”
“I’m going to answer that question.”
“Good, because I would like an answer.”
“I’m going to answer it but first I have a question for you, and then after you respond I promise I’ll answer you.”
“Okay, what’s your question?”
“What are you running from?”
She looked puzzled by his question and he continued, “You are both figuratively and literally running away from something.”
“No, I’m not.”
“You are. I see it everyday when you run out there. It’s something more than exercising. There’s getting/staying in shape but this is something else entirely. I can’t quite place it but I’m getting that there’s a sense of sadness in your eyes when you run. So I ask again, what are you running from?”
She paused as if she was going to say something but she didn’t have the words to speak. He held up his finger, indicating to her to hold her thought. “Before you answer me, I want you to think about it. Take the rest of the day and then sleep on it. I’ll be here again tomorrow morning when you run on by. I’m not trying to pry by asking you this, but I think it might be good for you to talk about whatever it is that happened. I might not even be the person that you’re comfortable telling but what I’m trying to say, albeit in a very long-winded way, is that you don’t need to run anymore. I’ll let you think about it, but for now I must be going. Lots to do today, lots to do.” He took the last gulp from the paper cup and grabbed his newspaper and started walking down the boardwalk.
“Wait,” She yelled after him. “You still haven’t answered me. What’s your endgame here?”
“Tomorrow.” He said. “I’ll answer everything that you want to know tomorrow. After you’ve acknowledged my question of course.” With that, he walked away from her to begin the rest of his day.
She stared as he continued walking down the boardwalk until he turned a corner and was out of sight. She turned in the opposite direction and continued her morning run. Lots to do today, she thought. Lots to do.
… To Be Continued