I went out to run the loop from the house to the next neighborhood today. I definitely went more out of duty than desire today, but after an exhausting week and a busy morning, there wasn’t another option really. As I ran, I passed two boys. We were going opposite directions. When they saw me they started running, and don’t flatter me by thinking I inspired them to run or something, because as I listened I realized there was an ice-cream truck in the neighborhood. They actually, probably thought, “this moron is running the wrong way! The ice cream truck is over there.” We still waved at each other as we passed.
The route I ran is a lolli-pop, so I actually passed the screaming ice-cream truck on the way back as well as the two boys who sighted me, way past the ice-cream truck and still running. They were a ways from reaching it themselves. As we crossed paths, they stopped and finally asked me, “are you running a marathon?” ha! “I wish!” I said. They asked me if it was the Relay for Life (which is a walk not a run) that had me out running then, I replied “I went to that yesterday.” They stared at me puzzled and I just smiled.
Further down the road there was a little boy, 4 years old or so, with his older sister evidently waiting for the ice-cream truck to make the loop. He saw me pass by and yelled after me “Hey! Why are you running?” I didn’t have a good response for him, I said, “I’m just running to run.” He gave me that same puzzled look as two other boys. “Well, goodbye!” he yelled again. “Bye!” And why am I running? I wondered. And if i must run, why not towards the ice-cream truck!? I can see how they were puzzled.
Finally back on my street I ran past the house all the way to the next stop sign and passed two girls on scooters, hair blowing in the wind, both singing and laughing. Behind them, two younger girls followed trying to catch up. I glanced over at the small girls struggling to go faster, I struggling to finish my run. . . we gave a faint comradely smile to each other.
Walking back home I wished to come up with my ice-cream truck equivalent. . . so next time I could tell the children. . . But today they were it. They had made my run by reminding me to resemble them. They’d filled it with questions and smiles and waves. . . with just the simplicity of childhood, the boldness to ask why’s to mere strangers, the freedom to run like a maniac after a truck playing ear piercing music just because of course the ice cream is worth it.
I loved it all. Saturdays, when the ice cream truck comes by, may have just become my favorite time to run.