I asked her was this her night for going out with the girls to discuss dating exploits. She looked sharply at me and asked why I asked. I told her that I remembered what she’d said when we’d met at her house, the day after Valentine’s Day.
“Oh, my God,” she said, “Fancy you remembering that.”
She told me that she would be meeting her friends as usual, but that they didn’t only talk about dating site experiences.
As, she got out of the car at her house, she thanked me for the lift, smiled and told me to ‘keep the faith’.
Training and Parkrun
The nights were drawing out nicely now and the weather was slowly improving. It was a fine dry night with little wind. Looking at the clouds, we’d get a lovely sunset. More and more trees were coming into bud. Walking across the park, I looked down at my wrist device that I’d bought since the most recent Parkrun to check the settings. I still wasn’t properly used to it. I didn’t understand how it could tell me how well I’d slept.
I joined Jake and Jenny who were slowly jogging their way around. They asked whether Susie was coming. I told them that I hadn’t seen her since Monday but that she’d been intending to come. They picked up their pace and I slowly found a rhythm to manage to keep up with them. Jenny shouted something, encouraging me on and, as we reached the far side of the park from where I’d left the car, Susie joined us. She ran alongside me and acted as a pacemaker for me. By the time we all finished, I was sweating, breathing hard and I could feel my heart racing.
Susie said that I’d have to work harder than that to keep pace with Paul. Jenny asked who Paul was. I explained between gulps for breath. Jake and Jenny were in stitches laughing at me. There was no point in me trying to look dignified. Susie put an arm round me and told me to take no notice. I knew that I’d be remembering that gesture of solidarity all the way home.
In the car, as I took Jenny home, at one point she referred back to our conversation of the previous week, asking was I sure that Susie and I were just good friends because that was not how it appeared to her. I assured her that nothing was going on – or was likely to be.
On the Friday evening, Helen dropped Paul off about seven. He had his pyjamas and teddy bear in his bag plus some clothes for when I dropped him off the following day. I checked her new address with her and she gave me directions. She reminded him of her noon deadline for him to be back with her after the Parkrun. There was no mention of Susie and I didn’t ask after Cliff.
Paul was excited about having a sleepover in his own bed. After he’d told me all about school that week, we watched some television together before his bedtime.
We were both awake bright and early on the Saturday morning. The Sun was shining, the birds were singing and there was only a slight breeze as we set off to Altrincham. Paul had never been out that way before and had lots of questions about places and things that we passed.
The journey was pleasant in the sunshine and the early morning Sun, strobing through the roadside trees cast long shadows of them across the road ahead. At one point, a fox ran across in front of us. It was the first one Paul had ever seen.
We arrived in good time to find a parking slot. I advised Paul to keep his fleece on until we were ready for the run to begin. He was amazed how many people were there, and the way that some runners were dressed had him creased with laughter. We made our way to the bandstand. I’d registered and had a barcode printed for him during the week. I asked him to take it and look after it to have it read at the Finish point. This made him even more excited. He was showing a competitive streak but I explained that I couldn’t run as fast as many of the people there, that he’d have to stay with me, and that the only person that he was competing with was himself.
Today my featured photo was taken at New Brighton beach on the Wirral Peninsula of Merseyside. The image is of the Perch Rock lighthouse, mid afternoon.
The Exif data are as follows: Samsung Galaxy A51 smartphone @ 4.6 mm and f/2 Shutter speed was 1/640secs and the ISO 32. The shot was mounted on a tripod and post processed in Lightroom Classic.