Back on the road

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Croquis by Chesney Bradshaw

I have a restless sleep in the early hours of the morning, and all my fears rise and buzz in my head. Instead of praying for myself, I start to think of all the people I know and the troubles and challenges they are going through. When I get to some people, I find it hard but I do it anyway.

I wake up in the morning. The power is still on. I rush downstairs to get the kettle boiling and the toaster on. Soon it’s all done and I’m in my running clothes. I run out the gate and into the morning traffic, which is at a virtual standstill now with the traffic lights not working.

I’m taking a different route this morning. I can’t take running past a new vendor who has struck up business on the pavement. A truck dropped him off a week ago. He sleeps there too, using the back fence for ablutions. He’s got a watchful eye, looking at everything, waiting for opportunities.

Before I reach the river, two Great Danes bark at me as if I’m an intruder. I see a man in a car with the door open rubbing his leg.

The river banks have been mowed and cleaned up. Plastic bags filled with rubbish lie in a giant pile. The small table where we’ve had picnics is empty. The river surface is calm and the height of the river is low with no rain for months.

I turn around and head back home. On my way, I see the Earth foods shop is open with people at their laptops. A couple talking with their Ridgeback dogs drinking from a large plastic water bowl that has been put out for them by the restaurant staff. A long table is filled with chattering young people.

The power is still off when I reach the traffic lights. The cars let me run past. I am sweating now even though it’s an overcast, coolish morning. I unzip my tracksuit and let in the fresh air.

I pass a woman slugging it out in a boxing gym. A man and a woman across the road are saying goodbye to each other. They embrace between the cars and part.

With the rising heat in my body I begin to feel uncomfortable and thoughts rush to my head. How am I going to solve this? Am I going to solve that?Money is tight. I push on, hoping that my problems will solve themselves.

I run past the car wash and the foreman waves at me. I shout “Raymond, morning“. He waves again. He is a friendly, hard-working man, the one who tells me all about the criminal activities in the local neighborhood.

I throw up a peace sign just because as I run through the traffic still clogged up. A driver in a jeep and another in a small Toyota stop for me. A friendly truck driver waves at me, shouting something I can’t make out.

I’m across the road now and heading down towards the main gate. I’m glad to be back on the road, having finished my run, hot and sweaty. I was out of action for a couple of weeks fighting off a winter cold.

It’s early spring and I’m grateful to have made it right here, right now. I’m looking forward to the spring weather. Winter passed so swiftly and now the summer months will fly past too. I’m giving myself a warning to enjoy every waking moment every day. Time runs out quickly. Despite all the contradictions of life, I will keep running.

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