As he bent down to kiss me, sweat trickled down his neck and dropped onto his white tee shirt, spreading like a stain.
I inhaled deeply, taking in the sweet mixture of his sweat, cologne and deodorant.
That familiar smell…it smelled like home. And just like that, he was off to finish the race.
He ran. I watched.
Is watching considered a sport? I often wondered. It was equally tiring, at the very least, just as time consuming.
I loved it.
Watching his long strides, catching his eye each time he rounded the corner near my spot in the grass at the curve in the track. I sat with my well-worn copy of Wuthering Heights under the shadiest tree in the field – it was more comfortable than sitting in the bleachers, under the full glare of the sun.
He shot me a quick smile and raced on.
I knew he’d win. He always won. I imagined his slow, steady breathing as he crept ahead of his opponents, his carefully timed inhale and exhale that he knew would regulate his heart rate and prevent him from tiring too quickly.
He used his body like a machine. Learning how to build muscle, optimize energy, get the best run times – he made winning look easy, but in reality, he worked hard at it.
I’d never understood the need – the desire – to run. That slow, deep burn in my calves, the sharp stab in my side – running had turned me off in the 7th grade, when I passed out from heat exhaustion in PE class after running laps in the August Miami sun.
So I watched. And afterward, I drove him home, with his newly acquired trophy in the backseat.
* * *
This week, we were asked to write about athleticism in under 400 words.
I know little about being an athlete because I am anything but! This was as far as my imagination got me.
What do you think?