I didn't run by myself for long before word got out that I was "on the market." Runners are notoriously savage at capturing one another for training partnerships. I didn't know Emily at all before she cornered my husband at church and claimed me. Greg warned that she might be a touch faster. I figured it couldn't be that bad since she was only five-two. Right? Crickets.
Emily rationalized our partnership as mutually beneficial. She was fast, but couldn't run far. I was slow, but used to long distances. It was running stasis, equal and opposite parts balancing each other into harmony. Lovely.
The harmony sounded like a wheezing, barfing, housecat being drug behind a cheetah. Emily was so darned competitive. No matter how fast I ran, her pace was two notches faster. I think If I ran at the speed of light, Emily would have projected herself into the future and beat me anyway.
I finally gave up trying to stay with her and kept a couple steps back. As long as I wasn't beside her, she would sink into a non-puke-inducing pace. Believe it or not, Emily and I became quite the pair. For almost two years we wore out running shoes on our Texas country roads. We entered dozens of road races together (and the Hotter n' Hell Hundred cycling ride!) and in the end, we both met our original goals. Still when I think of Emily, my mind fills with sunshine and the smell of hay blowing across the hills.
There was only one thing compelling enough to quench our running bliss. It was an evening mid-May when I saw it, plain as day, and marvelled at the powerful emotions it stirred in my heart.
Through the tiny window on a little white stick were two pink lines.
6 days ago