Who’s ever seen that movie by Truffaut?
Ask anyone and they’ll tell you romance (not to be confused with sweetness) makes me nervous; it’s too contrived. But I am also a woman who loves the cathartic melodrama, the vision-blurring, sob-inducing sweep and emotional hurl of operas like La Traviata or Madama Butterfly. So, in other words, sometimes even I am open to a romantic gesture. When I was studying abroad, my Italian boyfriend came to the train station in Rome and surprised me on the platform, just moments before my train was leaving for Paris, to accompany me so we could have a few final, intense days together before I returned to the States. What woman could resist? We fell into each other’s arms with kisses and tears, and the other italiani on the platform nearly applauded from the spectacle of it all. Bravi! I heard one nonna say softly to herself.
Wednesday evening I returned to Sunnyside after a week of living with and taking care of my Nana. I descended from the Q32 bus to see Husband, holding a dozen roses in one arm and the dog on her leash in the other. He smiled shyly at me, his body relaxing the moment he clapped eyes on me. I felt so appreciated, and missed; I was glad to be home and glad for a this bit of sidewalk romance. Nevertheless, as soon as we finished dinner just an hour later I had to head out the door again, this time for a 5-miler. Husband protested, “You are always running away from me!” No, I replied, I run in a circle which brings me back to you. It was evening when I went out–just a few minutes after 7, but already dark. Wasn’t it just last week when running at 7 would have meant full daylight? I headed over the Queensboro Bridge—touching down in Manhattan for but a moment before heading back towards home for the second time that day. Those 5 miles took me 47:29, and all my splits cooperated, falling nicely within a 29-second range.
The sun was just beginning to exert its influence over the night on Friday morning when I wrapped up my second run of the week over the 59th Street Bridge. I was sleepy, still not back in my routine. My legs felt heavy, the right one especially. Thursday’s PT exercises had left me achy and my time reflected it (4.95 miles in 49:43 minutes). As I moved across my bridge, the traffic grumbling and streetlights glaring south of me, I recalled the predawn run which started my week. During those 3.11 miles, the only sound I heard for 29 minutes was the chk-chk-chk and spsssh-spsssh of lawn sprinklers as I moved through the flat, cloaked streets of Hicksville. I wished I was back there, insinuating my heartbeat and breath between dormant houses and extinguished cars.