Micro Story #4: I'm Not a Runner
Updated: May 6
There has never been a time when my heart beat so fast, the thrumming, the bumping, made me nearly feral. I am not the type of person who goes out of my way to go to mountains or ridges. I don’t go hiking. I don’t ski.
So then why is it, my love, when you hold my hand and the warmth shoots up my arms and swaddles my jaw, why is it I feel like I’ve been running?
I’m not a runner.
“What’s wrong?” Your eyebrows, black as midnight, curl downwards. You sweep your fingertips underneath my sags from lack of sleep. I close my eyes and scold myself for considering this is not real. I deserve this comfortable, worn happiness.
I don’t answer you. Instead, I cook. This is a recipe from my grandmother. Or maybe my grandmother’s mother. I can never remember which.
You help me chop the onions and the garlic. I rummage through the pantry for the sweet basil, oregano, and thyme. The mix of aromas in the hot skillet reminds me of gardens, the kinds you can’t plant or water from the tap.
When the chicken is pulled from the oven and we lick our lips in anticipation, I feel it again. The thrumming. The bumping. I open my mouth to take in bigger breaths. It is as though I’ve felt this before. My body knows how to calm itself, how to cool the sheen of sweat across my forehead. I don’t know how it knows to do that.
I’m not a runner.
After we make love, and our limbs are heavy with exhaustion, I don’t feel it. After we share a bath, the bubbles are never ending, the wine is ever-flowing, I don’t feel it. We sing in the car, a rock and roll song from the fifties or sixties, I don’t feel it.
“I don’t like the beach,” I complain as you drive us to the beach.
“I like the beach.”
“It’s too hot.”
“I brought water.”
“I brought food.”
“It’ll be too busy.”
“I know a spot.”
I whine, loud and childish. As loud and childish as I can make myself. I feel rather than see you roll your eyes, and when you eventually spread a blanket across the soft, squishy sand I stop whining.
There is no one in this space half-enclosed by rocks. No one to see when your bra falls to the ground or when mine follows. I hope there is no one to hear the sounds you make when I dip my head, but I can barely hear them through the roaring in my chest. Through the thrumming and the bumping.
I’m not a runner - at least, not the kind that runs.