I made a quiet trip home this weekend. It was quiet only in the sense that I did not announce my presence in my hometown to my long-time friends until I arrived, and had been fortunate enough to be sure to get all my ducks in a row for what needed to be tended to. Moving 400 miles away often leaves loose ends aflutter, like untied shoelaces flapping in the breeze.
My feet were unable to be quiet as well, waking me up early (probably to remind me the trip was for business, not pleasure) and demanding to be rolled over the familiar concrete, pavement, and asphalt hills that I used to take for granted only four weeks ago. On the second day, I did what maybe every runner should do once in a blue moon: I took a running tour of a part of the city that had a plenty of personal nostalgia oozing from every corner. There went my high school, painted a different color and with more security fencing than ever before. Around that bend? My best friend’s old house. And this bend? The house that belonged to my old roommate’s family. Here was where I got pulled over for the first time, and was given just a warning (and never again have I sped up that hill). There was where I gave a kid I barely knew a ride home because he was slogging along in an Indian Summer heat. So much of my life has taken place in this town, through these hills. It was strange to relive pieces of memories that I thought had faded.
I then trekked up a hill I did not typically run when I lived in the Bay Area. My feet yearned for me to run up it, even though it resulted in a dead end, and both my feet and I knew this. But up we went, passing a few dog walkers and a relatively nice housing community I had never noticed before. The road flattened, and as I neared the end of it, I saw a little red house, with white shutters that had hearts carved into them, and Victorian-esque pop-out windows. It was a bit run down, much as it had been two and a half years ago.
My feet had led me to the house I did not rent. I jogged in place for a moment, taking in what I had turned away from, in favor of a different lifestyle, in favor of a roommate. Each moment of my life since that choice could easily have come to fruition simply by where I decided to live. That house held a different life for me. Another moment passed, and I turned and ran back down the hill, letting my legs churn as fast as they wanted, and throwing my arms out as if I was pretending to be a pterodactyl. My life is great, and looking at the path I did not run was not going to change that.