Running in Autumn #writephoto

What a gorgeous image Sue Vincent has provided us with this week. If you’d like to join in, click here to visit Sue Vincent’s prompt page. This photo is so lovely it might just inspire another story. We’ll see. Regardless, here’s the first.

Running in Autumn

Jill’s favorite time to run was always autumn, a slight chill, maybe some mist. She felt alive while her environs moldered in wormy scents. She was never cautious—then—as she is now. Hard slaps of shoe on pavement not these delicate, afraid to slip on wet leaves, afraid of falling, toes then heels, gliding, slow movements that ricochet in her dreams.

In her dreams she is constantly running, chasing the mirage of her soulmate, except he keeps changing, never evolving, which should prove something to her waking self but seldom does.

Jill fell last year, stumbled on the uneven brickwork on Duke Street where roots of misbegotten trees, trying to find soil look hopelessly skyward. She jammed her face on the pavement. A passerby thought she’d been beaten. Not knowing how bad she looked, she laughed. Beaten by life, by an aging body, by tree roots jutting up searching for life. How apt!

A fall takes a toll when you’re older, when you fold inwards, allowing self-pity to party. How others like to administer prescriptions for what you should do:

Go swimming.

Walk more.


Eat less.

Drink less.

No one says “screw yourself silly” which would be the ideal prescription if her husband hadn’t already found someone else to do that with.

She pretends she doesn’t know.

Instead, she jogs on a path of burnished autumn leaves chasing the mirage of her soulmate, around one corner and then the next, the mist a film of pretense, allowing her to forget he died when she was 20.


Sascha Darlington

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