Yes, even a Saturday can start out being one of those days, when it involves a mid-morning landlord visit requiring finding and eliminating every kernel of stray cat litter (and hair) from premises, followed by an impromptu 3-hour nap (3-hours! as if a sick toddler!) complete with sweaty nightmares that not only left me more tired than before I started but sucked up 3 of the 4.5 hours of available afternoon sunlight. (And 4:30 p.m. sunsets suck, people. Even if they're pretty.) Followed by a trip to Family Dollar Store confirming that because there are now 15 aisles of stupid, cheap Christmas decorations, there is no longer room for 30-cent cans of cat food.
It was in this moment, while rounding the corner of Dorchester Street and Broadway and muttering about stupid, cheap Christmas decorations and overgeneralized holiday commericalization, I was blindsided by the blaze-orange sprinting shoes and the figure of my dear friend Chris. Indeed sprinting by. A friend who runs like the wind, but lives in Roxbury and wouldn't generally be in this hood this hour.
As he quickly explained:
"I just stopped by your place. I was headed out and realized today I wanted to run to Southie, but didn't think to call you until I was on my way. Wanted to see if you wanted to go for a run."It was 3:30 p.m. and I was still in my pajamas, drowsy and bed-headed. But had I been in Family Dollar Store for 30 seconds longer or shorter than I had, Chris and I would have missed each other. The day was crying out for a divine kick-in-the-pants ... and it appeared.
By 3:45 I was in shorts, tech top and Asics and he and I were jogging west towards the other side of town. Chris is a much (taller and long-legged and) faster runner than me .... even with him cutting 2-minutes-a-mile off his pace, I chugged hard to keep up and not feel the guilt of boring him. But I kept up. We conversed in that necessary way friends who get too busy need to converse, passing the 4 miles to Roxbury in no time.
By the time we reached his home and I set out for the return trip (in the end, 8.75 total), the sun setting behind me in the cool afternoon, I was glad and grateful. To have shifted my day's attitude so thoroughly. To have run faster and longer than I would have ever done by myself. To have the privilege of such an awesome, selfless friend in my life ...
....especially one who runs.