Just Run


Fin broke up for summer on Wednesday and the sheen of novelty lay over everything, burnishing the ordinary with wonder. Even before the morning had reached breakfast time, he lay on the couch, soaking up kids TV with lazy eyes and not a shred of hurry about his person. An apple core lay on the side table, already aging in the air.

Nick was off to work early, so I suggested that Fin accompany me on his bike for my (recently minted) morning run. To my surprise, rather than moan about being parted from the TV, he decided that a run might actually be the very thing for him too and he skipped into his trainers almost as soon as his recalcitrant socks would let him.

A few lungfuls of grassy morning air and we were off, side by side, taking turns to open and shut the gates and shout when some dog poo hoved into view.

As the endorphins kicked in we started to giggle and chat, goading each other to sprint up slopes and reach that tree first. We couldn't decide whose face was pinker or who was more sweaty, but Fin won first prize for mud splatters on the legs.

We flew past ambling dog walkers and office workers hurrying their morning cigarette. Cars chuntered by on the main road as we tumbled and joked, greeting cows and startling rabbits, leaping puddles and chewing up the grassy paths, whilst our arms and legs found their own rhythm, as though they too were breathing.

So I silently gave thanks for my body, which for months has not been able to run. For my hips that held the memory of Finley's birth, twisting my spine until eventually my neck said, 'STOP! No more!'.

We reached the top of the road, barreling down the hill as fast as we could, arms flailing, laughing in gasps until we slammed into the front door, one after the other.

'I won!' shouted Fin, doing a little victory dance on the spot.

Ok, but there's still tomorrow...