i’m running at the ray track. it’s a cloudy sunday afternoon. looks like it’s about to pour, but with any luck i can get in my 3 before the deluge.
i’m sharing the track with a 30-something guy who alternates a walk/run. must be his f-150 in the lot. there’s a woman who’s not as fast as her shoes. she’s accompanied by two girls, maybe 4 and 5, on bikes with training wheels. the girls are way faster than me. i try to subtly knock them off their bikes as they come by but they have training wheels and are impervious to my elbow. dammit. the indian dancers are at the rec center, indian dancing. and then there’s him.
he’s a pup. maybe a black lab, although i’m no good at dogs. he’s following the girls on their bikes. i think nothing of it. cute family. it’s fun to watch him run ahead, then park, then catch up with them again. i enjoy the game for a few laps, and then they leave. but the pup doesn’t.
he runs with the guy for a while. then he comes over and starts to run with me. remarkably, we are running at the same pace. i wonder if the guy minds that the pup is hanging with me. and then i start to worry. what if the pup ISN’T his? and then the guy leaves. and the pup doesn’t.
whew. the pup goes through the fence to the rec center and watches the dancers for a while. maybe, i think. but then they leave. and the pup doesn’t.
for the last mile and a half of the 3 miler (12:02 blah), it’s me and him. he runs with for a while, then parks in the corner, then chases a bird, then frolics (pups gotta frolic, you know) and runs with me again when i come back around. maybe he lives across the street, i hope. he doesn’t look hungry and his fur is ok. no collar or tag. and then the run is over.
i sit on the bleachers, and he comes over too. he lies in front of me with his head down. adopt me adopt me adopt me adopt me adopt me adopt me. but i can’t. we live in a small apartment. we have a cat who barely tolerates US, much less another animal. a shelter? death sentence. besides, maybe he really does live around here and is just hanging out. yeah, maybe that one.
and then, it starts to rain. i watch helplessly while he retreats under the stands to escape the rain. animals are smarter than humans.
i walk to the car and get in. and here he comes. he gallops down the front stretch and then stands at the gate, watching me. hoping. i start the engine. he waits a minute, then wanders toward the storage shed overhang to get out of the rain again. i drive off.
3,200 people die in a devastating earthquake. and i’m just worried about a pup sitting in the rain at a high school track. life is funny.