Another snippet before the New Year

I finally pulled out this year's failed NaNoWriMo project again, and will share another snippet of the little bit I did write. Enjoy. Or don't enjoy. You know, whatever you do.

By the time she changed into her clothes and laced up her shoes, she’d adequately convinced herself she wanted to run. It was a process, running. She had to talk herself into it. The first step was usually laying on the couch thinking about how badly she didn’t want to run, but on good days, she skipped that step and started by getting dressed piece by piece. It could be an agonizingly slow process, often ending in defeat. It was not uncommon to find Leslie in her apartment at 10 p.m., wearing socks, running shorts and the sweater she’d worn to work earlier that day. On those nights she’d succumb to her natural laziness and take off the socks, shorts and sweater and crawl into her pajamas, which was exactly where she wanted to be in the first place.

For a runner, she was as lazy as they came.

She headed down 16th Street to Market so she could head toward the Gaslamp District. She usually hated to run through the crowd of tourists gawking their way through the famed downtown district, but it was the best way to the ocean and its various paths.

Usually when she ran, she ended up having conversations with herself in her head. Usually things like, “Is this really a Justin Bieber song?” as she found herself turning up a particular song. She’d think about what it’d be like to admit to liking a Justin Bieber song. In the end, she decided it best to keep it to herself and pretend she had no idea what she was listening to, but boy, it had a good beat, didn’t it?

As she rounded the corner onto Harbor Drive, she ran smack into Jessica Walton, waiting to cross at the crosswalk.

“Oh shit, I’m so sorry,” Leslie said, fumbling to take the earbuds out of her ears. She felt the familiar flush of embarrassment creep up her neck. Shit. Jessica Walton. She hated Jessica Walton. For no real reason, of course, other than uncontrollable insecurity and jealousy. Although Leslie would never admit to jealousy. Jealousy? Please. Leslie shook away the thought while eyeing up Jessica’s toned legs and outrageously perfect hair.

“Oh hi, Leslie,” Jessica squeaked, dragging out the “hi” a little too long. “What are you up to?”

“I, uh,” Leslie stumbled over her words. Typical. “I’m running.”

Duh.

“Oh that’s so great,” she replied, practically singing the words. “Running is so great. I wish I had time to run.”

There it was, Leslie thought, raising her eyebrows. There’s that condescending friendliness. Of course Jessica didn’t have time to run. Of course. How could she possibly have time in between raising her perfect 3-year-old son and doting on her husband, who is also perfect? They were so busy. So busy. No time for trivial matters like exercise.

“I make time,” Leslie retorted, deciding not to fall for Jessica’s bullshit smiles.

“Oh, I’m sure. I’m sure you do,” Jessica said, still smiling. “But gosh. Dylan just keeps us so busy, you know? Raising kids. Oh! It’s just challenging. But so rewarding. It’s a gift. It really is. You’ll see. Enjoy that running while you can!” She tapped Leslie on the arm. A friendly gesture, sure. But Leslie was positive it was Jessica’s way of patting Leslie on the head, telling her she’s a silly girl who doesn’t understand the meaning of life just yet.

Leslie looked Jessica in the eye when she answered. “I’ll just get a jogging stroller. Or a babysitter.” And with that, they were given the go ahead to cross Harbor Drive, and Leslie took off, leaving Jessica’s quizzical expression at the intersection.

As she reached the shoreline, she slowed to a walk and decided to take in the morning with a walk instead. The cool October air felt wonderful, not that San Diego ever got particularly hot. Hot was one thing she never missed about Michigan. Midwestern summers were torture. Her hair would have no part of it. The lack of humidity, and therefore the regular good hair days, was the majority of the reason she chose San Diego after college. She had the luxury of choosing anywhere, really. And while her dad and brothers would have chosen something perhaps a little closer, by the time July came around the summer after graduation, she knew she’d never be happy that sweaty.