Jogging in Arizona

When I first got a job in Arizona, I lived in the apartment. I wasn’t interested to own real estate and wasn’t even sure that I wanted to stay in Arizona longer than a couple years. My work day would start early and I still had to drop off kids to the day-care every day. I cared for fitness quite a bit and I was finally relieved to learn that in Arizona, with the dry and warm weather, I could jog every day. I didn’t need a treadmill like I always used to have while living in cold Michigan. I would jog every morning at 5:30 am. I was very dedicated to my jogging ritual and only missed it when I was travelling. I picked my trail and conquered it every day. It the winter, it would still be dark. This town was new to me and I didn’t know the area well. I started to carry a pepper spray with me. One day, I realized that I was not the only jogger. On the other side, there was an older woman, who did not jog. She would rather walk fast and she always carried her bottle of water in one hand. It felt comforting seeing her there. Every morning we would cross paths right around the same place and look at each other. Sometimes she smiled. I was happy to see her in such predictable manner. It was less dark and less scary knowing that she would be there. We met this way for almost a year. Then, one day, I didn’t see her. I thought maybe she just missed the day, although she never missed it before. Another day passed, and another after that. I started to worry. I though that I knew where she lived. I saw her turning into the apartment complex at the end of her walks. I wondered if she lived alone and if she was sick. I wondered if she needed help and her early walks were the part of her therapy. We were bumping at each other every day for months and I didn’t even know her name! If only I said “hello” all my questions could have been answered. Did I allow my life to run so fast that I could not find time for simple courtesies? It was a sudden feeling of sadness and abandonment, almost palpable! I did not know why. We didn’t even know each other. I’ve never seen her again, the old lady from my jogging trail.

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