The sun is sneaking down into the basement of the sea slowly, casting the world in soft pinks and oranges in its descent. The wind is blowing soft and cool off the water and making the humid air more bearable. A bird I can’t place sings a song that sounds like a melodious car alarm. Beneath me, the ocean swirls and swishes like a heartbeat, reaching fingers up the shore.
I’m on the balcony, a thin white robe slicing open at my bare breast and bare thighs. I’m admiring my newly tanned legs in the diminishing sunlight, smoking and snapping pictures. I lean back, the wind sliding up my thighs like a whisper, the robe falling open a few more inches less decent considering I am naked underneath.
I could do this, I think to myself. I could live this life.
I could spend my life flying from place to place, letting the sun warm my skin and learning new languages and cuisines. I could reasonably take up a life of pleasure, indulging my whims and my desires across continents. I could swim in every body of water. I could climb mountains. I could hike jungles. I could take a new name and a new lover every place I went, slipping away in the middle of the night, leaving only a fond memory in my wake. I could wake up with the birds or with the bats. I could see the world. I could travel and experience, tethered to nothing, responsible to no one. I could actually, finally, live in the world rather than just exist in it.
But not if it’s running, I say to myself and I know it to be true before the thought even finishes.
I take a hard drag and pull my hair down from its perch atop my head. It’s heavy with salt water and smelling like fruit. I tug at the mangled curls and think about where I go next.
I could live this life. I could. I know.
But not if it’s running.
This I know too.