I went for a run on Monday night. I turned out of the block of flats, down the main road, through the retail estate, down the single-lane track the leads down the steep sides of the lush hill with a view across miles more of valleys and woods, into town, along the streets crowded with students and runners, across the bridge and up to where the cathedral resides. There I remembered For Emily Whenever I May Find Her, which is a lovesong of heartfelt gratitude, and the line about hearing cathedral bells tripping down the alleyways.
I headed back for the river bank and the languid waters with students floating in rubber tubes and rowers and deep green trees overhead. There I stopped and began to walk, tired and melancholy. I followed the river around and under bridges until I reached the road that leads up into the hill on which the suburb I live in sits.
I reached my block of flats, worn out, my mind calm.
This is why I run, I told myself.
Right now I should go for a run. I skipped on a gym session after realising I'd forgotten my sportsbra, a vital piece of equipment any woman would agree. I've eaten too much today having never felt full, I feel weepy and melancholy. It's dusk and I'm seized with that feeling I used to get dusk when I was a child when I just wanted to get out there and run and run following the path along the rugged coast near where I grew up until I reached Lindisfarne or Scotland or somewhere far away.
But right now it's getting dark and from my window I think can see another rain storm sweeping across the rooftops and treetops towards me.
I can run tomorrow, it's ok.