by The Perfect Neurotic
5:25 AM. Twenty minutes until sunrise. I pull on my sneakers and head out. First, the five minute warm-up, preparing my legs for the run. Down past Main Street, the clock reads 5:37. If I keep pushing up this slope, I’ll see the mountains right before the sun begins to rise.
My husband never understands this need. All his lectures on safety. Last night, exasperated, I told him, “At 5:30, the only thing I ever see are deer.”
“And most of them are lying dead on the side of the road. Just be safe,” he scolded.
There is no way to show him the wonder of dawn. The dark cold surrendering to the warm rays of sunlight. Forests and fields of animals trading shifts for the new day.
Up this last steep incline, straight up, I’ve trained myself to look a foot ahead at the ground, concentrating on the steps and not the burning in my thighs. I begin my countdown from 30, exactly how long it’ll take before being greeted by the sun.
29, 28, 27 … the sounds of hooves clicking. ‘Eyes straight ahead,’ I remind myself.
26, 25. The driver on the other side sees the deer in her path.
22, 21. A scraping noise. My body is numb.
19, 18. My lungs gurgle. A woman is kneeling over me. I try to tell her politely she’s blocking the sunrise, but cough instead. Red paint splatters her shirt. I am so cold and confused. I’ve lost count.