Every day, the jogger would hit the corner of 10th and Broadway at three in the morning, shoes hitting the pavement in a staccato beat, pumping the blood straight to his heart. He could feel it beating like he imagined tribal drums would - wild, story-telling, jumpy. Sometimes, he would stop and watch the blood thrum through the veins on his wrists to the beat of African folklore in the Serengeti, of a Mayan tale from beyond the stars. For at least three miles he would run, every morning. He was fairly sure he never traversed the same path twice. He liked to think that if he followed a new path every day, it would take him down a new road he hadn't expected, and it would change his life. It hadn't happened yet, but he hoped it would. He had patience. He would wait.
He'd jog past stray dogs and cats, past the homeless, past fire hydrants and stop signs; past skyscrapers and houses and apartment complexes and dumpsters. This man of a boy - this boy of a man - this guy - was on a mission. A mission for what, he didn't know, but it kept him healthy, this mission. His heart would say "Hey, man, thank you." His lungs would say "I appreciate how much you let me take in now." His brain would say "Left, right, left, right, left, right,', though that wasn't as much in the way of gratitude as it was just common sense.
He counted as he ran. He ran for miles. He ran for thousands of steps. If he had run to cure a disease; to fund a charity to cure the disease, it would have been cured aeons ago.
He never lost count.
He was skinny; he was skinny and frail; he was all dark hair and big, glowing eyes. He was glasses that he only wore to read the books he shouldn't be reading and to write things he shouldn't know how to write. He was a universe and he was a single atom. He was human, above it all, which, somehow, seemed a bit of a fallacy. He was born of disorder and precision alike.
Precision so sharp that as soon as he hit 30,000 steps, he invariably broke down in tears and couldn't take another step for at least an hour. One time, a man got out of his car and dragged him to the sidewalk from where he had dissolved in the street. But today it was all him, gripping a chain link fence like it was Alka-Seltzer and he was the nausea; like it was God and he was the sinner. Not that he was religious or anything. Some days he thought he was and wandered around trying to find salvation; some times he cursed God and littered and kicked rocks into the street. Though the latter seemed like 'most days', and it seemed like God hadn't touched the place in years.
He would cry for all the things he couldn't say or couldn't understand or couldn't forget. He cried for all the perfect mornings spent listening to shitty pop songs in his dead best friend's kitchen. He cried because his eyes were dry. He cried because he had run out of milk. He cried for his absent parents and his negative boyfriend. He cried because he could. He'd cry, and think about what a waste crying was, and how ridiculous he must look, lying in the street, or on a doorstep, or clinging to a metal fucking fence, like he was now.
And then the fence broke, and he fell over the edge of a towering precipice he hadn't noticed before, and he was recycled again and again and again.
The jogger woke up, counted each of his ribs, laced up his shoes, left off all the lights, scratched the spider bite on his left forearm, opened the door, turned around, locked it, turned around again, and didn't look back until he invariably, inexplicably, miraculously, woke up in the morning to find rain and wind and fast food bags lashing the windows.
The early morning jogger is a creature. We're all someone's creature.