He jogs—every day. Some days it seems like every hour of every day. On days when I need a mental health day and I go for a walk around 9 am, I see him jogging. On days when I work from home and I go for a walk at lunch around noon, I see him jogging. Just today, mid-day Sunday afternoon, I saw him jogging. With a plastic bag in his left hand, I suppose to avoid dousing his iPhone in sweat, his glasses fog and his salty triangular-patterned back serves as an indication of his dedication, or perhaps perfectionism.
I wish I could show you what he looks like when he jogs; with not an ounce of hurry, the light, slow bounce reminds me of ice cubes when they decide to float to the top of the glass. He wears a smirk, always a smirk, and his methodical strides in his lanky body make me wonder if a chart hangs in his house with tally marks of how many times he goes up and down the street. Exactly how many pairs of sneakers has he worn out the soles? And what does he listen to in his headphones? Is there only one song playing as he counts the strides back and forth, like the Rocky theme song hiccupping on a scratched record? Now I really wonder what happens if he can’t get outside to do the ice-cube bob? Maybe his throat closes up and he paces in circles because he must add a tally mark to the chart.
The most puzzling part: if you saw him in the grocery store, you would not think to yourself, “Now, there’s a jogger.” And if you see him in the grocery store, then he must eat, right? I bet he has the same breakfast every morning, like wheat toast and egg whites. Does he drink a lot of water? He must to produce that salty isosceles.
At night, he walks with a woman and a dog. He ditches the plastic bag and the Rocky tune (or whatever it is) all together. He wraps the leash around his hand to keep the dog close and he always walks one step ahead of the woman who I hope wears a ring, if I could ever get close enough to see. She looks a bit sad that he walks one step ahead with his head up and a plastered smirk. I like to think he still counts his strides on the evening walks and that the song still plays in his head. Did she dream of a man who would walk by her side and strike up an evening conversation about how her day was, but settled instead for a man who counts his strides and must jog back and forth every day? I bet she wants children and I bet she wants to leave this starter home when their family grows too big. But he must jog, every day, up and down Rowanberry Drive.
Today though, and only today, I saw him turn the corner down a side street where the larger homes live with two-car garages waiting for him. I hope he heard her say she wants a family over all the bobbing and the counting and the getting strong now…won’t be long now…