The lake water shimmers in the early morning sunlight. I glance at it and take a deep breath of fresh air. Fixing my eyes ahead, I let my feet carry on pounding the pavement. There is no one around and nature is the only sound. For me this is the perfect time of day. I can be alone and feel like I’m witnessing everything for the first time.
Along the shore of the lake, boats bob on the waves adding to the picturesque scene unfolding before me. The water ripples and moves the reflected images of the trees and surrounding peaks. For a few moments I’m one with nature and then civilisation appears in the form of an ice cream hut.
It’s quickly followed by a car park and a host of other buildings. I want to turn around and run away from all of this. The pull of connecting with nature once more is calling me back, but I fight it down. Every day I do this, but soon I’ll give into my urges and not stop. I pick up my pace and speed past the first of the boats for hire shops.
Boating is one of the main businesses around here and the tourists never seem to get enough of it. I guess if my job was to drive boats about all day that would have more appeal. Granted, I’ve never been good on open water, I prefer to have my feet on the ground. I guess it wouldn’t take long to get use to it though. Being out there, stopping the engine in the middle of the lake, taking in all the nature, what could be more relaxing?
I run past my actual job. The large blue flag declaring boats for sale flutters in the breeze. The white and blue striped building is flanked by speed boats on either side. The office and show room are still shut and the car park next door is empty. I don’t dread returning back here in less than two hours, that job is all I know and it has let me live the life I want. It just doesn’t give the complete freedom I crave.
I’ve loved running all my life and in college I wanted to make it my career, but life decided that it wasn’t to be my calling. So, the only running I do now is at this time, just as the world is wake to another day. There are no people or car traffic to get in the way this early. If I do happen to chance upon someone, it’s the milkman, postman or a dog walker. I ignore them, even if I know them. I have to keep running.
Around me spring is in full bloom. The trees are over crowed with green leaves, there are flowers everywhere and the warm air smells sweet. And that can only mean one thing around here- the height of the tourist season. As I enter my home village, posters displaying holiday homes to let appear in many windows. A handful of Bed and Breakfast signs seem to crowd the space above my head.
I can’t help but study the buildings around me. Some are so old that they fit with the shape of the street so perfectly. Others still have a new look about them as they’ve been freshly painted. The houses are mostly terraces, with a very small cottages squashed in-between. There are flower boxes and pots outside, adding even more summer to the place. I spot one or two shops nested into a corner and then the road twists up.
I turn the corner and face the last part of my morning run. The pavement turns into a tan coloured tarmac and I enter the park. Flowers dance around my ankles, tree trunks wiz by and the short grass lies like a carpet on either side of me. I don’t stop to admire the view, though my muscles are now burning. The flowers and trees drop behind me and the path weaves its way through an area marked as the recreational ground.
There is a golf course on my left. Yellow flags mark the holes almost hidden in the grass. A double tennis court sits behind it. I’ve played both here a few times, but I’ve never been taken with another sport. Once you decided on one, you wanted to get to the top, so spend all your time practising and not doing much else. Thinking about it, if I didn’t run I’m not sure what I would do. I probably would’ve taken up tennis or football. A sport that was physically demanding not metantally.
On my right is the crazy golf and an adventure playground. I remember playing on both as a kid and nothing seems to have changed. The crazy golf course looks so tried with all the paint peeling and the obstacles look smaller now. When was the last time I played that? I can’t recall, it’s been too long. As for the playground, I’ve a handful of memories of that and they all involve running in some form.
Ahead is a bowling lawn, spaces for table tennis and a giant chess set behind that. These are new and I watch them building it three or so years back. It was hard to tell what they are doing at first as this area use to be more flower beds. Then as they laid down the turf and added a boarder, you could tell by the shape. There is also a patio space behind the chess set and this connects with the building stretches itself across the end of the path with many arches hiding doorways.
This building isn’t new, it use to be the grand entrance to the park. Now it houses; a cafe, toilets, an ice cream shop, the paying desk for the golf and storage for the recreational activities. I remember the arches best though because I use to run around them with my parents trying to catch me.
I turn my head back and find my focus again. Running always makes these memories come as my mind has very little to think about. Thinking of other things will only last so long and then my thoughts will drift again. That’s not a bad thing, as I once wrote a proposal about advertising a special deal on an over stocked boat brand we had in. I sold more boats then anyone else that month!
A figure dressed in white rounds the corner of the building. My breath catches in my throat. It’s her again! She’s been jogging on my patch and keeps appearing. I try to slow my pace down, but I’m going too fast. For a split second my mind thinks that she is running towards me, but then I see that she’s jogging on the other side of the path.
Our eyes meet and I swear that time slowly down. I see her short blonde hair flying around her face. Is that the hint of a smile on her pink lips? Her hear the sound of her gasping breathe and her trainers slamming the path hard. Is the same thought going through her head at the same time as it is mine? I smile. Does she notice? And then she’s gone just like that, running down the other path way and I’m left with a fleeting glimpse of her behind.
I’ve no idea who she is. I only started noticing her about two weeks ago and each time I’ve told myself that she’s just a tourist and tomorrow I won’t see her. I’ve been hoping I was wrong and as the days go by, it seems I might have been. I want to get to know her, see if we’d be good together. We have jogging in common already, wouldn’t that make a good starting point?
Tomorrow, I’m going to stop and speak to her….tomorrow I’m going to do it!
I jog off the path, along the building and around it. Once more my mind wonders at why no one has fenced this edge of the park when all the others have been done. The grass at my feet turns to pavement and I am on the corner of the high street. The closes shops are still closed, but I can see their bright and pretty window displays. I run up the pavement and before me is the impressive structure of the village church.
It’s been there since medieval times, but it’s now surround to its Victorian revamp. Going through the gate, the path divides. One leads to the graveyard and back to the park and the second leads around the church and to the other side of the village. This is the path I take. My old primary school appears on my left. It’s now been turned into a cinema and there are posters hung on the walls declaring the latest movies being shown. I hardly remember my time there anyways. I run through a side gate and up a twisting hill lined with terrace houses.
Turning at the top, the pavement disappears and I have to run on the road for two meters until a sprawling drive way joins it. A tall wall and a hedge line the way up and at the top as my medium detached house. It is white wood built on red bricks and the large bay windows face out across the lake and surrounding peaks. I race up the steps and stop in the door’s alcove. Bending over, I try to catch my breath and as I shut my eyes I see her face before me.