JasonThe beat of the music pounded through my earphones, drowning out the loud rattle of the subway trains. I was in the zone. My heart was racing, my feet striking the pavement with the rhythm of the baseline, as I ran.
The monotony of city life swamped me in the day, but running brought me back from it at night.
God, I missed home, and fuck it was cold.
Too cold to snow. I heard the words Dad always repeated. I’d always thought it a myth. Was it ever too cold to snow? I didn’t know, but people had been saying it all day.
The pavement was dry, not icy. Dry with cold. There was no moisture in the air, only the cloud of my breath, as my lungs filled and then exhaled with the pace of my strides.
Maybe it was true. God, there were so many myths in the world. Like, New York was the place to be. It still felt like new shoes to me, like it just didn’t fit.
The tarmac felt firm beneath my sneakers.
I looked forward, trying to increase my pace and energy, burning away the doubts and disappointments I’d felt since I came to the city.
At the end of the bridge there was a figure, caught in the middle of a beam of orange lamplight, like some illuminated angel. I generally only saw other guys jogging on the bridge path. It was rare to see anyone else.
It was Thanksgiving in little over a week and Christmas in a few weeks. Lindy was pissed I wasn’t going back home, but she’d made up her mind to come to me for Christmas.
Was that good or bad?
The figure was facing the Brooklyn Bridge, probably looking at the reflection of the lights glinting and shifting on the dark water. It was mesmerizing when you focused on it.
The Manhattan Bridge was never busy, probably because of the noise of the trains. The environment didn’t inspire pleasure, so it wasn’t a place for tourists. But it was a good path for running, long and straight, and normally empty.
I ran harder, my eyes focusing on the figure.
The person hadn’t moved. They held their hands up, gripping the metal grill above them.
The pose seemed odd. A little desperate. It wasn’t casual.
My imagination shifted, no longer picturing angels but a horror movie. The way the lamplight shone down on the figure, could be like they were in the sights of a hovering helicopter, or a beam from a UFO.
I thought of Christmas again, and ached for home. But I wasn’t going home. I had to conquer New York.
The light shining down on the stranger, suddenly took the form of a Godly benediction once more. The person’s arms shifted, stretching out, similar to a crucifixion pose, hands wide and high, as they looked upward.
I was getting nearer.
My fingers were numb with the cold, even inside my gloves, and my ears burned as jack-frost nipped beneath my hood. Running should’ve kept me warm, but it was twenty-one degrees Fahrenheit, way below freezing point.
Fuck, now I could see the person ahead was standing in a t-shirt. Their out-stretched arms were bare.
“Hey!” My heart rate thundered as I ran on, wondering what sort of city-nutter I was running toward. What were they doing wearing a tee in this weather? It didn’t look like a homeless dude, but…
My breaths grew more uneven.
The guy ahead hadn’t heard me.
I pulled my earphones out. “Hey!”
Still no recognition. It was like they were in some sort of trance.
My feet pounded on the concrete.
It wasn’t a guy, it was a girl. I’d seen the long hair way back, but hadn’t been sure.
Plenty of guys had long hair. Now, I could see.
I knocked my hood back. I didn’t want to scare her. “Hey!”