... two young people on a running track
It was an overcast day with a threat of rain as I drove own to the local athletic field to engage in some running, to prepare myself to get in condition to compete in the upcoming Senior Olympic Games in pringfield, Mass. The date for the event was nearing, and I had not been in training for several years. This was a spacious track, well groomed, with the pungent smell of fresh cut grass. As I was new to this field, I noticed that all age groups were running, young people mostly. They all appeared to be in excellent physical condition. Some of the middle-aged runners were slower than others, they were a little heavier, perhaps the result of " One too many for the road."
The older runners had graying hair and large paunches, perhaps the result of a failure to push themselves away from the table. They labored to gain consistency. Young mothers ran while pushing strollers, youngsters enjoying the ride. Soon a young woman appeared, probably twenty-something years of age, trim in figure, with classic high cheekbone facial features. She had pink jogging sneakers, matching shorts and top, and a pink visor cap, one with an open back that allowed her blond pony tail to swing back and forth as she ran. Now, prior to her appearance, I had been attempting to keep pace with a young man, possibly the same age as the young woman. He was a strong runner with an effortless stride, which I tried to match, however, the attempt proved futile. He obviously had been training for some time and
he seemed to be bored, lethargic, and disinterested, all at the same time.
Suddenly, and as if on cue, with a burst of speed, he blew by me as if I were standing still. Apparently he caught a glimpse of the lady in pink; ponytail swinging. The overture began, the curtains parted and the show started, featuring a novice romantic in pursuit of the elusive object of his affection. A smile came to my face, - this performance was going to be worth the price of admission, even without my senior citizen discount. He rounded the first turn and put on a showoff, eye-candy sprint. He glanced in her direction as
he passed her by, hoping she noticed. The boyish ploy failed, much to his chagrin. The pink goddess stared straight ahead, not looking left or right. She was the epitome of "chilled," complete with pink ice cubes.
The self-anointed Lothario was rebuffed. Now this young man was not accustomed to failure. He rounded the track again, and as he approached a second time, he slowed his pace and looked toward her, hoping that
she would offer a sign that he existed. However, as far as this frosty lady was concerned, Romeo did not exist. "Goodnight my prince, parting is such sweet sorrow." For a moment I thought this scene was over and he might be content with"I coulda been a contenda."
Obviously, he was not, because here he was, rounding the track one more time. He was determined to have his "last hurrah." What he lacked in romantic expertise, he made up for in blatant chutzpah." If the kid is
dreaming of "A Concerto in Pink," he was going to wake up to a "Rhapsody in Blue." Approaching "Pinky" again, he offered a smile, a smile of last resort. This fruitless effort was rewarded with glacial indifference, as she continued running, disappearing in the distance, ponytail swinging.
The young man ambled off the tracks; Cupid's errant arrow would not find him today. He had just discovered that affairs of the heart carry with them a myriad of emotions, among them happiness, sadness, jealousy and scorn. He was just introduced to rejection, the one with lasting side effects. My legs were now beginning to betray me and I decided to call it a day. Walking off the field, I noticed him sitting on a stretch of grass, hands folded head bowed and sullen, as if under a cloud of melancholy mist. Feeling sorry for him, I said,
"Nice try kid, if you really like her, try again." He looked at me quizzically and with a wide grin said,"Yeah tomorrow is another day."
As I drove home, I reflected on a few poignant words that someone wrote a long time in the past. Someone far more articulate than I may ever hope to be. We have all heard it, have all seen it, and most of us have experienced it. "Better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all." Oh yes, now about those Senior Olympic Games, well, that will be a story for next time. After all, tomorrow is another day.
February 5, 2016
Reprinted with permission from the Malden Advocate September 12, 2014..