Coming toward me, hard clapping kicks downhill, stamping to a halt.
I cut away via ninety-degree turn, leaving the two runners behind.
Footfalls behind me. One person, breathing outspokenly. Only him.
She (upset, shouts from far behind): “Aren’t we walking together?”
He (shutting her out, shouts): “D’you want to?”
She (exasperated, shouts): “After a run we always do.”
Dual footfalls, coordinated breathing, slowly catching up, then passing.
Just ahead, they turn beneath a trellis.
I want to say something, but I’m reconciled, I’ll never catch up .
She (pointing to rose garden): “They can grow back, they do, they will.”
Me: (caught up) “I’m glad you’re walking together. My wife had her first fall here.
Me: “She had a tumor on her spine.”
She: (genuine concern) “She’s okay now, though, isn’t she?”
Me: “She lived. Learning to walk again. I hope she’ll feel sensation again.”
She: (genuinely responding) “I’m so sorry that happened.”
Me; “Cherish every moment.”
He: (wanting to create space) “Have a good evening, sir.”
She: (steps forward, as if to hold) “I really enjoyed talking with you.”
Jim Ross jumped into creative pursuits in 2015 after a rewarding career in public health research. With a graduate degree from Howard University, in six years he’s published nonfiction, fiction, poetry, photography, and hybrid in over 175 journals and anthologies on five continents. Publications include 580 Split, Bombay Gin, Burningword, Camas, Columbia Journal, Friends, Journal, Hippocampus, Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, Kestrel, Lunch Ticket, Manchester Review, Newfound, Ruminate, Stonecoast, The Atlantic, and Typehouse. Jim’s recently-published photo essays include Barren, DASH, Kestrel, Litro, New World Writing, Sweet, So It Goes, and Wordpeace, with Typehouse forthcoming. Jim has also published graphic nonfiction pieces based on old postcards, such as Barren, Ilanot Review, and Litro, with Palaver forthcoming. A nonfiction piece led to appearances in a high-profile documentary limited series broadcast internationally. Jim and his wife—parents of two health professionals and grandparents of five little ones—split their time between city and mountains.