Wednesday, November 14, 2012
I always fall on the right. In high school the asphalt sheared enough skin from my right shoulder and elbow that three miles later I finished the race still bloody. In a college race I got through a muddy turn with some technicolor bruising and an impressive scrape high on my right thigh. Last year in the home stretch of a run, I clipped an uneven bit of pavement and went down, curling, with abrasions wrapping from palm around to knuckles scabbed over for weeks. But this evening, dusk falling faster than I might have anticipated, I smacked the sidewalk and got up with nothing worse than stinging palms to show for it. I like to think I'm getting better at this, that my body is learning with every fall. More likely I just run slower, have less acceleration to add to the crash. But perhaps this fall is only different because when I got up, picked up my splayed keys and finished walking to the end of the block, there was a woman waiting there in a big black truck watching the whole thing framed through the passenger window, asking if I was okay. It's such a nice thing to ask. Maybe I should have told her, told her that in fact I'm better at falling all the time, that in my falling career this is maybe a personal best. But I was still feeling a little shaken and I said I was fine, and as soon as I cleared her back bumper I ran the rest of the way home.