Waking up this morning I thought of my grandmother. I woke in SE. I thought of the lack of funds in my bank account and then I took a run. Out the door, shades on, music on, keys in pocket; frozen for a moment in preparation, I gazed at houses and at the street straight ahead, then I began the motion.
I ran as fast as I could in my barefoot running shoes. I ran to the East into the sun. I ran through the university campus; through the construction, where they tore down and covered in dirt the old buildings; cement, brick, and metal, all lined under the topsoil. I ran by the Mc Donald’s, past kids on bikes, kids just walking, wearing their University of Minnesota gear and backpack.
Further on, I ran near my old house, across old streets I frequented. I ran past the young, those new to the area and school. I ran past the old, some huddled in doorway corners smoking cigarettes, hiding from the wind.
I ran in the sun. I wanted to burn. I thought of you. I thought of how we used to sit in the grass and talk of the future together. I thought of this and I ran past it all.
I saw the stadium-high and mighty in the clear blue sky, I thought of how it was just a spot of dirt when I first moved to Minneapolis; dreams, trucks, contracts, workers, and tuition, later-play ball!
I thought of my old roommate as I ran past his old place of employment: The Print Shop on Washington. Things have changed. I ran by. I thought of the money I needed to get my teeth fixed and the money I didn’t have.
I ran faster. I ran over local papers crumpled in my path fluttering in the wind. I ran across the bridge next to the 35W. The sun was high and bright on this April day; however, it gave little heat. The new bridge hung over the spot where so many died and were injured. Looking below I saw the swirl of the Mississippi River; fast current, whirlpools of foam, yet no cadavers-nothing floating at least.
On the other side of the bridge I ran above a train-yard where workers in hardhats deconstructed boxcars with a yellow-bodied crane and blowtorch. Were it summer I couldn’t imagine the feeling of the sweltering heat and burning metal. I thought of all they wore. I thought of being a child and touching train tracks in July in the early 90’s. I remember the pain and surprise of the hot metal on my delicate flesh. My knee started to ache. Still I ran faster.
I ran past the house where she died, the room where she lay on the floor. For God knows how long. The blinds down all the way, no entry point for a peering eye.
I ran past the door and crossed the street illegally. I ran. I sprinted. I kept running. This was my technique; this was how I won. And I thought I have no fun ever. All my fun costs money. I ran at an increasing pace, faster, terminal velocity on feet.
And then I ran to the door and stopped. I almost fell. I bobbed back and forth. My shadow shone the act on the ground before where I stood. I regained my composure and I thought. Now I know, running is fun and doesn’t cost me a damn thing but memory, emotion, and elation enough for to shed a tear. The past ran back to haunt me. I don’t even think I ran 5 miles. And I was just out for a jog.
Goddamn, I need a cigarette…