Hail the All Conquering Hero!

18 Mar

Today, I dusted down my trainers, donned my shorts and went for a run for the first time in at least three months. It was a nice day, sunny and cloudy at the same time with all the subtle changes in light and shade that that entails. I had harboured concerns for my general level of fitness after such a long lay off but as it happened I needn’t have. I floated off down the road as if I hadn’t been away.

I ran outside under the blossoming cherry trees, past the last of the winter berries, alongside thick rows of daffodils until I arrived at the park. The park was waving its new spring lushness at my ankles as I ghosted along, a half-smile, a half panting grimace on my face. The hedgerows smelt good, the grass smelt good, the trees smelt good, even I smelt good, although I can’t actually corroborate the latter. Everything was seemingly good. My newly acute sense of smell was revelling in the release of natural scents and aromas from everything around me. Everything, that is, apart from ‘her’. Parks have people in them and the ‘her’ in question was an unknown thirty-something in a longish coat with coiffured hair.

She was a 100 yards in front of me as I coursed along, and as the gap closed, the effort needed to keep up my pace seemed to increase. I noticed something was afoot. I became disorientated. I was being attacked. First, with what felt like little pins being blowpiped at my face and then daggers being blunderbussed into all my senses. I was within yards of ‘her’ now and visions of my great-grandfather desperately trying to escape mustard gas on a Flanders field bossed their way into my mind. It was in my eyes, my saliva, trapped on my nasal hair. I had to get past. I dug in. I clenched my fists. I pushed and pushed. Through an invisible cloud of Lancome or Chanel  or was it Britney Spears Fantasy? Either or it was a weapon of mass destruction and I had to get away. Just as I thought I could hold out no more, I punctured the toxic balloon in front of ‘her’, back into a world of spring replete with budding branches and singing birds. My lungs begged for  air and were given so accordingly.

Renewed, my pace picked up. I passed the old bomb shelter, passed the enormous poplar tree, passed the allotments, passed my nonagenarian neighbour and his dog, entered my hall,  went through my kitchen, out the back door and collapsed into a chair. Nice deep breaths.

I looked at the blue sky ahead and smiled happily to myself. Then I looked at the black cloud right above my head, which smiled back at me briefly before spitting a brief volley of hailstones on my head. I like life.

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