[Woman, 21 years old, elite long-distance runner]
Just me and my feet. I can hear everything my lungs are thinking. I’m focused. Fidenza, Italy. Correre Correre Correre. Headed for the horizon. Straight into the sun. Pushing hard. Breathing up all the oxygen within a five mile radius. Knees pumping. Heart pounding. Watch ticking. The sky is pink and red and everything smells like spruce trees. Running. Just running. God, I love running, you know? All the sudden I hear this really weird laughter. I know. It totally freaks me out. I’m out here all alone, right? Who’s laughing? What the hell is so funny? I look quick to see who’s behind me. Nobody! But I can still hear somebody laughing. I look all around, up down side to side and I’m checking my pocket ‘cause I’m thinking it’s my phone but I don’t have my phone so I’m just losing it. Finally I hear it right above me. Sandhill cranes. Eight of them flying in formation way way way far up there in the sky. Miles away, but it’s so quiet, I can hear them. You know that sound they make? That laughter. That’s what’s going on, up there. The cranes are cracking jokes. Up there just yukking it up. So what do I do? Out on the road all by myself, I get the giggles. Right there in my running shoes, all alone, crazy woman dying laughing at some crane joke. And I don’t even get the crane joke, but believe me, it’s funny.
--from Come to Me, Leopards
by Arlitia Jones
Copyright Arlitia Jones 2015