Saturday, August 05, 2017

Another Breath Before Sleep 

The run
“I’m a coach driver letting his team of horses run.”
I leave the theatre accelerated. Past the stilettoed women, laughing and confident, past the coiffed young men, sneering and arrogant. I find my bike and begin to glide. I’m never sure where my late night adrenaline surge originates but it’s there. My afternoon rides home are sluggish and doleful by comparison. Whereas late at night I’m completely awake and my legs are so full of spite they feel like they might tear themselves free of my body and ride on without me. Perhaps it’s the darkness of the streets, spotlit by dim streetlights strobing beneath me which gives an illusion of speed but I feel like I am ripping over the tarmac without touching the surface at all. I slip through stymied traffic like a dry wind and all the while my legs carry me ever faster. I’m a coach driver letting his team of horses run. My back tightens while my knees pump the steel crank. Maybe it is the thick close cool night summer air that wills me to pedal so hard that I can feel the bike’s frame twist in my assured grip.

It’s these humid turbid nights when the ride starts chilly but soon enough I feel the sweat forming on my back like morning condensation on the hood of a car. At some point I break from the Entertainment District and past the valets and hotels and the city quietens and I take the side streets where the breeze through trees sounds like water lapping on a shoreline and my thin rubber tires rolling through shallow reflecting pools flit like swift flying insects buzzing by.

I’m surprised by the size and brightness of the full moon which I mistake as a streetlight above rooftops of low darkened apartments. The dank green acrid smells of laneways and all their putrid water anchors me back on earth. I dismount, unlock the gate and pour my bike through the back door with an easy fluency. I’m home, the surge ends and my energy drains away like I’m leaking blood from a huge wound. I wobble momentarily, my head swoons slightly and my hands shake from the sudden shock of stopping. The creeping sweat I was aware of before is now a deluge with my shirt and jeans sticking to my skin. I let it take its course and breathe deeply while allowing my arms to dangle lifelessly and my legs to slacken. Another breath and the tiredness of the hour sinks in. A glass of water before closing. A rinse and stretch before lying down. Another breath before sleep.

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