Wednesday, March 8, 2017

08/31: A Running Dialogue #sol17

Thanks to the Two Writing Teachers for hosting the #sol17 writing challenge! 
When I run, my thoughts do too. They spiral away from me like seeds blown off of a dandelion, attaching themselves to the most unlikely places. When I run, I imagine the stories that lie beneath the surface of the people I pass.

Today, my feet carry me past a man still dressed in a button-down shirt and tie with earbuds in, his face tilted up towards the sharp March sun. He embraces the harsh light, relishes it even, as it illuminates the golden hairs interwoven with the brown of his beard. He is smiling.

In my mind, he is in this park today at 5 PM, walking the same trail I am running on, because he has been trapped in a cubicle since 8 AM, crunching numbers for some project that means nothing to him. He doesn't feel much at work other than the click of his fingers against his keyboard or the headache stretching across his forehead. The conversations of his coworkers sound like they are underwater, muffled and unclear. The hum of the florescent lights is deafening. He spends hour after hour seated, bathed in the greenish light of his computer screen, waiting for the moment where he can feel a light that isn't artificial on his face again.

By the time he leaves the office, the sun is already getting low, so he walks in his Dockers and dress shoes, blasting angry music through his earbuds to erase the memory of another wasted day. Unlike earlier, here, he notices everything: the way the breeze coasting across his cheeks is like a river during the summer, with layers of warmth at the top and a current of biting cold underneath. The way blooms on the Bradford pears look exactly like popcorn kernels, exploding into life from the warmth of the past week. The way that the shadows of the people walking the trail stretch out like caricatures of themselves, fun house representations of reality.

I imagine all of this as I run past him, and for a moment, my shadow blends with his against the brilliant backdrop of green grass, and it is not clear where his begins and mine ends.

And then, he is behind me, We move in opposite directions, two strangers, connected only by one brief moment of imagination. 


  1. "When I run, my thoughts do too." You had me at your very first line. This is a beautiful piece. I love the way you describe everything - I can picture it all so perfectly! When I run, I look at the ground. I need to look up more often. Perhaps I might see what you see and my thoughts can run with me as well. Thanks so much for sharing!

  2. I talk to myself while walking...ramble while rambling

  3. I do the same thing - run and think up stories - they don't always get written down though - great post
    I hope to read more stories created while you are running

  4. You are one of the most sensory driven writers I know. I just love reading your words!


  5. This is such a wonderful piece in that you create two very different settings one very real and one very imaginary, but I was in both his cubicle and in the park with you. Brilliant!

  6. Wow! Another beautiful piece of writing. You are so talented!

  7. You're such a strong writer, Katie. I loved reading these fierce wonderings about this man and what his life may be like. I took the same early bus to work for nine straight months when I lived in Manhattan. I'd see the same people day-after-day-after-day. I remember wondering what they'd be doing all day. I'd imagine and make up stories, similar to the wonderings you had about this man who might be in his cubicle all day, just like you did.