Judging from the faint light filtering through the drawn shade on my bedroom’s backdoor curtain as I peer over the top sheet that lightly covers me, it is still early morning. A foggy glance over at the iridescent numbers broadcasting the time from the clock on my wife’s side of the bed confirms that it is a few minutes after six―the perfect time to slip out the front door and be back before the family even knows I’ve gone.
Quietly I slip out of bed and into the running shorts I placed on the floor next to me last evening. Sweeping away the remaining cobwebs left by the previous night’s sleep I make my way to the bathroom. After taking care of business I brush my teeth and contemplate whether or not to wear a shirt. It is a comforting routine that I’ve carried on for the better part of three decades―a connection to the past―and part and parcel to my definition of self.
I head downstairs and open the front door. I am greeted by a blast of warm moist air. Shading my eyes I peer through the early morning sunshine at the thermometer fixed to the post on my home’s front porch. The red line has already slipped past the 80 degree mark, indicating that wearing a shirt is out of the question. Running shoes in hand, I step outside and close the door behind me. I sit in the glare of the bright sunshine on the front stoop and lace up my shoes, my mind anticipating the challenging run ahead. Once my shoes are on, I step back inside to grab a few swallows of water from the kitchen tap. It’s time to go.
I ease the front door closed behind me. Already, beads of perspiration are forming along my temples and threatening to run into my eyes. I take the first few tentative strides at a jogging pace. In just a few minutes, I know, the day’s heat will seep into the muscles of my legs and they will be sufficiently warmed to pick up the pace. Before I’ve made it past the end of my neighbor’s driveway, a droplet of sweat breaks loose from the hair on the back of my head and starts its journey along the nape of my neck and down my spine. It is good to be alive. All is quiet except for the sound of my feet striking the pavement and my deepening breathing in the stifling heat. The effort is already causing me to exert more energy than usual. I pick up the pace anyway. It is a promising beginning to just what might be a perfect day.