I met, or I guess I should say, ran into, this old lady about a year ago. We actually didn’t run into each other, but we did meet running on the bridge near my house. At first, we just nodded at each other. She was always smiling. I liked that, ‘cause you know people who don’t run like to rag on runners for looking so pained while running.
Every once in a while, we’d be going in the same direction and would race each other a little. She was fast for someone with grey hair!
The first time I saw her was the first time I went for a run. The next day, I went out again, in part to see if she’d be out there. She wasn’t, but I kept running anyway.
I ended up going out for the cross country at school after that and made it, so she’s sorta special to me. Turns out, I like running and am good at it. Coach says if I keep running strong, I have an “excellent shot” at a scholarship.
This development has made my mom most extremely straight fire– so long as the CC team doesn’t get in the way of my grades, of course. She’s been one-tracking on my brother and me going to college: working two jobs, being all over our homework and grades, sticking little ‘motivational notes’ in our lunches. Yes, for true. She finds time to do that last bit real regular.
One day last summer I was on the bridge and I’d forgotten to bring water. (I’m usually not that lame.) I guess I was looking not too smooth.
The lady happened to be running toward me. She stopped and pressed her water on me, saying she’d parked at the foot of the bridge and was only a half mile in so hadn’t touched the bottle. Once she was sure I was not going to keel, she squeezed my shoulder and was off, hurdling up and over.
After that, we kinda stutter-stepped talking with each other from time to time. I handed off a GU to her to repay her for the water (and to show I knew it was important to maintain your balance). A few weeks later, she gave me a race notice, explaining there were running shop gift cards for age group winners.
That helped me convince my mom to pay the entry fee, and gave her bragging rights when I indeed danced through the door with one, and a cool trophy.
Mom said I should ask the lady over for supper. That threw me, I admit. It’s not that I’m embarrassed about my home or mom (ok, my brother is only semi-civilized, but he can hold it together for a meal). The lady was just sort of “mine,” which I know sounds crazy.
The next time I saw her, I flagged her over, meaning to offer the invite. Before I could, she handed me a paper. “It’s my address,” she explained. “You could run there.” Then she ran off before I could say anything.
I’m thinking I want to take her up on her invite before I deliver mine.