The 720 Foot Marathon

He’s out the door and Jim hits the bricks running. For the first time in forever, there’s a man with a shopping cart downtown. Awkwardly, Jim avoids by a wide margin but runs into a woman. He says he’s sorry but it’s not three seconds before he hits the bricks again full pace. Outside of Monument Circle, the bricks give way to cement as he runs towards the buses congressing in front of the federal building. There she is waiting for the 17.

It’s actually hard for him to keep his sprint. He hasn’t seen Linda for a long time but he can’t stop. She recognizes him. If she’d just move a little closer, he could touch her. She doesn’t see him and she turns her head and he starts to scream but he knows that won’t work. She’s got the cigarette in her mouth. Click. Click. He turns and start to to run the other way. He hears the screams and the sirens. He can remember her face, all black and bubbly. Warped. He’s seen enough. He goes back towards the circle.

One more time.

Through another one way door, he enters. He touches down on the same brick, it’s name is Malcolm Dougherty. He knows all the named bricks on the circle. He’s been sprinting the circle for sometime preparing for this. It’s 12:15 and there’s not much time. The grocery cart is averted, the woman unscathed. This time, it’s a pickup truck. The driver is a loud angry bastard who apparently doesn’t know that downtown is the one area where pedestrians count as human beings. It’s a common mistake.

That doesn’t phase him nearly as much as the curb, which had always been there but at this moment in time Jim forgets and falls flat on his face. He bites his tongue and starts bleeding from a scrape on his arm. What’s worse is a woman sees him and tries to help. Finally he gets back to his feet and waves her away. He’s got his gait back and then BOOM, sirens, back towards the circle.

One more time.

He hits the bricks, goes around the cart, the woman and the truck. He then proceeds to fall down on cement bloodied again. He’s a bit shaky but he gets up and his pockets sort of jingle on the way back to equilibrium. He’s running faster than he thinks possible and there he is on the ground for a third time. A single quarter rolls over to her and she finally notices him. She returns the quarter and gets on her bus.

This is good news, as there are plenty of panhandlers between the circle and the bus stop. He has seen too many Lindas die. Stretching the whole of existence, there are places wher Linda never was. There are places where Linda isn’t downtown at 12:15 on that day. But when she is there, when he is on time, she gets to live. Better yet, there’s another Jim on that bus that has a happier night.

He runs to the next one way door. Time to give love one more chance and one more after that, one more until he can’t go on.