Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2069389-The-Runner
by delboy
Rated: 18+ · Fiction · Men's · #2069389
Someone is looking at his life from a new perspective

The Runner

PJ Delaney

Jerry was forty-eight when he took up running. He hadn't jogged, or even walked fast, in years but started when Catherine, his wife, celebrated a third month on her diet. They'd been married for two decades. She was a woman with a good heart and although she had, like her mother before her, grown heavy with the years, there was now a stone and a half less of her. There was less of her to love.

The first battle was togging out, putting on shorts and a t-shirt. Everyone had to start somewhere and he'd bought the shoes. He began by jogging the Dublin Road to a mental count of a hundred, then walking for another hundred, then jogging, then walking, jogging, walking, jogging and then doubling up and getting sick. Holding the railings until the nausea passed he stretched his calves and jogged again. He finished the three-mile circuit in forty-one minutes. He never mentioned it to Catherine. The day they'd married she'd been a size fourteen but she liked food so the fourteen became a sixteen, an eighteen and he didn't know after that. At the end of the first week he surprised himself by jogging for six minutes before he had to stop. He pushed himself until he could feel the pulse behind his temple and his sweat glued the old t-shirt to his skin. He finished the circuit that day in thirty-five minutes. To celebrate week two he bought a breathable shirt and a pair of shorts that were reduced to a fiver because they were bottle green. Every day he took his lunch-hour from work and completed the circuit, every day moving closer to the day he'd run the whole course. It took him four weeks and he'd lost three-quarters of a stone.

On the same day he ran the whole course Catherine bagged her old clothes into white rubbish bags for donations. When Jerry considered his wife he realized that her change, her blossoming, was a great event. The photographs of the old Catherine were throughout the house but now she was different, she was brighter and happier; she bought new summer dresses and bright fleece tops. She looked better now than she ever had in their two decades together. She always had a good heart but now she shone.

Catherine was never a woman with an intense interest in sex. On the first night of their honeymoon she came to bed naked, she felt that was expected of her. As the months passed she slept earlier and stayed in bed longer and didn't encourage any marital advances. She drank too little and Jerry knew he probably drank too much, but when Catherine drank she enjoyed sex, six months of abstinence ending in a night of passion, a night where drunken Catherine was a participant rather than just an accessory. Now she was forty-six and with almost three stone gone and turning heads that didn't see her before. His wife was becoming a confident desirable woman and she was starting to go out with friends for drinks, for the first time she'd started coming home after the clubs closed and he was asleep. He could smell her perfume and drink, some nights she came home and reached for him. After another month he found a new 10k circuit. He knew that the night that Catherine wouldn't come home wasn't far away, it was getting closer as she came into flower. But he'd changed too. The day wasn't far off when he stopped running in a circuit. She would soon act to set him free and he would finally begin to run in a straight line.

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