Thursday, July 20, 2006

Running shoes

I slept ten minutes after the usual time, and when I opened my eyes I immediately felt lonely.

There was something nurturing in the ritual of my father waking me in the morning. Sixteen years of history and I could have been a newborn in his arms feeling his hand stroking my hair. I could have sensed that singular smell that only he had. I could have recognized his carbon copy voice that was inside me without the bariatric chamber affect of hearing it in my own head while he stood in the open doorway to my bedroom.


I was not quite awake but I knew it was past time. The sanctity of sleep was wearing off. The dull grays and blues of shadows that crept too slow to notice their passing flooded over my Heather Locklear poster, but the only sound I could hear was my brother snoring in the room next door.

Nothing else.

No smell, no bed head hair messed out of place even further by a gentle tussle. No "ahem" coming from the hallway. No steps heavier than mine heading to the back door.

I felt confusion.

It was school day and I could only have been in my room or in my uncle's spare room. There were no other regular places from which I could have been awakened.

He didn't wake me up that morning, although there were plenty of times when he didn't and I'd have set my alarm clock. It was not set this time.

My eyes and mouth were dry as I bounced out of the bed still not consciously aware that this day was a new life. I put on my running gear and still half-heartedly went into the hallway on my way to meet my father in the backyard. He mostly would be waiting for me to get my laziness into running condition so we could start our day.

My brother's snoring seemed louder than the day before. I wasn't sure if his croaking was getting worse or if it naturally increased volume when his internal clock assumed I was not in the next bedroom. I was ten minutes later than usual.

Stepping outside I was still alone as the screen door slammed against the frame. The morning air was colder than the day before with the days edging slowly back to winter. I lifted my left leg and stretched my thigh out glancing down at the little cement shelf next to the back door.

My father's running shoes were sitting there, placed in a stance like an embarrassed child trying to hold in his urine, the right one on it's side cocked towards the left. Tears filled my eyes as I saw the reddy mud caked to the side of his shoes. It was the same mud that I'd tracked into the house yesterday and often before, mud from our route through a building site that has been finished for nearly two decades now.

Twenty four hours before that moment we set off for our last run together. Had I known it was the last time there were a million things I would have wanted to tell him.

I pushed back to urge to cry and started running our usual path but the image of his shoes back there invaded my thoughts. The loneliness of my first waking minutes crept into my heart and I must have looked ridiculous as I started to cry. The harder I cried, the faster I ran.

My Dad was gone and he was never coming back.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sigh! Not sure what to say really. Anything will sound ridiculous.

7:52 PM  
Blogger BAB said...

Ugh, whats going on? Where is Dirk?

I'm so confused :/

12:00 PM  
Blogger WDKY said...

Shit, Jed, I'm sorry... life can be a bitch, eh?

2:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who the heck is Dirk?

2:38 PM  
Blogger Scarlett said...

Your writing is excellent, this was a powerful story. I just found your blog, I can't wait to read more.

2:48 PM  
Blogger Mystical Me said...

Sweetheart, I would bond with you anyday.
You write like an angel sweetie!! I could only imagine what it would be like to hear your voice while you talked to me face to face. I can dream cant I?!! ;)


12:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dirk quit his blog, he wrote about it weeks ago before he pulled the plug. Suppose he didn't want to leave people hangin.

6:52 AM  

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