I hear soft breeze rustle the leaves as it blows through the trees, the dying sun cast its last light between the houses as Jess and I start the first couple steps on our normal route. This is my time, no one to email, no laundry to do, dishes don’t even cross my mind and I am all me; free from my day, my worries, my decisions, the jobs I haven’t got, the projects I haven’t completed, the fears and uncertainties.
Its winter so its just Jess and I, the cold makes the air icy as we breathe in big gulps, and it keeps our running partners home with hot tea. We climb the first hill out of the suburb and onto the main road. This long hill we’ve climb many times, but since its cold and it’s our choice we take the route down the hill today. We’ve caught up on our days and we move from running side by side and I take the lead down the long hill. The cars rush by, and the sun hits my eyes and the city is on fire with its last orange glow. I breathe deep and feel the strength in my legs as my muscles are now warm, I push hard and could almost take flight as I run to almost a sprint, the robot changing red and green is my marker and I push hard to get there ducking under trees and leaping over gravel.
I hit the bottom of the hill turning to enter another suburb and watching for Jess behind me slow my run to the boom with a little hop-scotch over the wooden stepping stones to get back onto the quiet suburb street. I slow my run, waiting for Jess to catch up and we wind up the road between the houses starting our conversation again, wondering when we can up our distance again, when sunset will be a little later and give us a little more time. It’s almost dark now but we know we’re safe in the boomed area. The top of this little hill is in sight and I encourage Jess just a little further, we round the bend and climb the hill from one suburb back into another and onto the long straight road home.
The street lights are on and the sweat on my face is dried and I’m cooling down, residents walk their dogs and greet us as they walk past and I relish this moment of complete freedom, to be outside and smell fresh air, to see the golf coarse next to us with the water from the sprinklers hitting the old fir trees. We get to the bottom of the street where our cars are parked and I begin the final sprint up the last little street, Jess tells me to go ahead, as she always does but I slow and walk with her to the top.
The rush of life kicks back in and I realise I have to get home, cook dinner. We only did a little over 4kms, it wasn’t much and I know we can do more but it felt great. I climb in my car aware of the hard earned mental freedom I feel, the pumping blood and the deep breaths have cleared out the build up of stress and anxiety, and I’m proud of our small bite of hard work. I’m free and me again because I took that time, and I know I’ll climb that hill again, and I’ll run further and I’ll defeat demons on those hills.