Out on the sidewalk, concrete that is cold and hard, like the miles, like the night sky that seems stretched across some expanse behind, a black sheet hiding infinity. 10 miles is 10 miles, though, and things are mostly as they are. That night sky is not a singular thing, but rather depth incarnate, neverending nothing, until it does, maybe. There are clouds fleeting across its face, and the moon, full and bright. A halo of light extends from it, framed against the clouds.
It is bright and the cars go by, their headlights brighter. There are houses out here. Lights are on in a few, off in others. Most don't have occupants to turn them on. There are signs everywhere, advertising. A ghost town that hasn't yet drawn a single breath, which never had life to begin with. A coyote runs by and seems not to notice me.
From the outskirts to the center, one night later. 10 more, after 10 in the morning. A long day. Pickups when I can, shuffling when I can't. The brick breaks things up, and I hop on to the grass when my feet begin to protest. There are hills. Faintly, there are sounds of music, of shouts, of dim echoes of sobriety drowning in it all. A homeless man walks by, using a PVC pipe as a cane.
Turn up a hill, down another, through a parking lot. Trash cans tipped, garbage everywhere. Near the lake and I hear voices, a boy and a girl sitting together in the dark, holding hands, talking. They laugh as I see them, their intimate moment made performance. I wave because I don't know what else to do, decide a second later that I shouldn't have, then that it doesn't matter. Up another hill and a drunk student is wobbling back and forth, making exaggerated hitchhiker thumb gestures towards the road. People honk but no one slows.
Near home, a mother and her daughter, walking in the neighborhood. The girl is no more than 5. She points at me, and with the honesty of youth, asks loudly, Why is he running? Because he likes it, says her mother. I wonder that point for the miles that remain and think that her mother's answer is probably the best one, but that there cannot be a best one, because I make things far too difficult for that. I finish, though, and sit and bathe in my bliss and think that she is not wrong.