He used to run almost every day. I would pass him going in the opposite direction. After this happened several times, he would give me a little nod, a wave, and a grin, and I would do the same. No big deal. Just two people doing the same thing at the same time in the same place, acknowledging each other.
One day, as usual, we passed each other. Nod, wave, smile. Except this time, he turned around and started running WITH me.
I was so shocked that I didn’t know what to say! “Hi.” “Hi.” We ran together for fifty yards or so. Then, without a word, he simply turned around and started running the opposite way again. It was odd. It was funny. It was him.
This started happening regularly. Sometimes he would turn around and run with me. Sometimes I would turn around and run with him. Sometimes we talked, sometimes we didn’t. Sometimes we ran just a few yards together, sometimes a mile or two. It was a running joke. Literally.
One day, after a storm left the trail wet and muddy, I saw him coming towards me from the opposite direction followed by a small group of mountain bikers. They rode by him and – just as they passed me – blasted through a large puddle. I was wearing a white T-shirt, and the entire left side of my body was splashed with mud.
“That’s not funny!” I yelled after them.
He ran up to me, stopped, put his hands on his hips, and looked me up and down. “Actually…”
Who was I to argue?
We used to talk about random stuff. One day it was about his hair. Not the hair on his head; the hair on his chest and arms. It was just this thick shag carpet of unimaginable density. He had this long-sleeved white T-shirt that he wore on cool days, and when he put it on it looked like he had a fur collar and cuffs protruding from the neck and sleeves.
I said, “You know, if you ever decided to shave off all that hair, I’ll bet it would impact global warming.”
He agreed. “Yes, it would probably make the world a warmer place.”
“Because I would knit you SUCH a sweater…”
But I couldn’t stop laughing.