Night laps in the darkness, a single lamp lit in the southwest corner of the track. Brilliant Venus hangs under a crescent moon. In the humid blackness a young child sprints past on the inside lane. Halfway through the curve he looks back, stumbles and tumbles to the ground.
He is on his feet when I come up alongside him in the outside lane. “Never look back, listen back,” I suggest and I slip past.
A few walkers stride around the track, shadows in the night, forcing an alert peering forward into the blackness ahead. I hear a walker I have just past pick up their pace into a run. The sound of their footfalls approaches, but then hold at a constant distant to my right rear. For a couple laps they hold my pace, then their footfalls fade away into the darkness.
I run without time, the laps uncounted. There is not the usual sensation of running that accompanies running in the daylight. The darkness cloaks the track and hides the visual cues that would let me know I am moving. Only under the one lamp do I sense my motion.
With time and laps the walkers drift off into in the night. I am alone with the pad-pad-pad of my own feet, my labored breathing, and pounding heart beat. Running. Listening. And not seeing.