Tracked

It's hot at the track, but it's that late summer hot, where the grass smells greener than usual and there's a hint of rot on the breeze. There are people here, mostly older people using the crumbly brick-red rubber surface to ease the impact on their aging bones. A man with a walker measures out even paces along the 500-meter length of the oval, in short hitches of his metal support frame and a one-two shuffle forward. A large woman's tightly packaged rump catches my eye, and it's impossible to look away as it swings, elephantine in its seduction. A bare-chested man, glistening with sweat like a figure out of Homer's Odyssey, easily laps me. He runs the innermost ring, that ring reserved for the people who are actually athletic. I wonder how much older he is than me, and if I could ever be that sleek at that age. There are annoying crusty links of white and black goose-scat that have been laid in seemingly strategic fashion, causing just enough irritation to make me lose my stride as I skip and step around them at irregular intervals. A young woman jogs up behind me, her breath heaving hard, the sneakered soles of her feet slapping their approach, and then she passes me, way too close for comfort in these times. I hold my breath for a minute, just in case.

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