It’s really beautiful out. I notice that you notice as on my daily walks to the river you have multiplied. Everyone is out.
I get out for 45 minutes a day.
I go every day for this walk, which has come to be my ritual. I really look forward to it. I seem to be the only Brody that requires “outside” to function. Steve and the boys are pro hunkerers. No need to ever leave the house. Amazon and an iPad solve basically every want they have.
But I need to go out for a bit every day or I’ll go insane.
I walk every day to the water. When at the hospital the east river and when home the Hudson. And I seem to be a ghost.
You run right past me. You don’t even recognize me. But I see you and I like watching you run by. I like being a ghost. Seriously. I can do anything and you wouldn’t see. No one notices me even if I look right at them. Sometimes I wonder, am I invisible? But no. I feel myself. I’m there.
And then a random tourist will notice me. This is confirming. I exist.
I like the tourists. They smile. I smile back at them. They probably love a real life run in with an eccentric New Yorker. As I’m full of my flair and dressed always for a season that it isn’t. It’s winter in my world.
But to the rest of you. Poof! Gone. Not there.
You’re too busy running to notice. You have somewhere to be or go. The running is just an act for a bigger goal.
I just walk. I have no goal, but to be outside.
But I like seeing you. I like watching your faces. All so different. Some so tortured. It is clear for some that this is forced exercise and you are counting every step. Today a girl was smiling the entire time of her run as if she had a secret. Maybe a new love? I was dying to know. She just was beaming as she jogged. There was something going on with that one.
Maybe it was just the “high” that you runners speak about. I like being “high.” One day I will try to keep your pace, but for now, I walk. I walk and look at the world go by. Then I stop and stare at the water. Just stare. And then I head back home.
But today I got to go out TWICE!
I got Jacob out! I can’t even recall the last time Jacob has been “out.” The only time he sees the sky is when he is transit between hospital and home and that is about 30 seconds from door to car. I would take out Jacob every day, but Steve is reluctant. I get his point. This is working. Why try new things? Let’s keep Jacob out of the hospital. He can’t get sick before surgery. All fair. AND Jacob doesn’t want to go. But today, I got him out.
And all of a sudden everyone sees me.
You will even stop your running.
You will crank your neck and follow me as I pass.
I know that you only look at me to look at him.
I get it. It’s like a real-life St. Jude commercial marching down Bleeker St. It is not the norm. Even the rowdy bars get a decibel lower when we pass.
I assume moms and dads in my world hate this. I think that is what I’m supposed to feel, but I don’t. I don’t mind. I really don’t.
Jacob is your daily reminder that sitting down with a friend for a beer in the middle of the day is a real luxury and all of sudden you remember that today is a really beautiful day, “I think I’ll walk home!” I see you give your child a side hug as you walk by us. An extra hug can’t be a bad thing.
So I don’t mind. You can stare.
But what you don’t know is that you are not staring at a “sick child” you are staring at a hero. That is my secret.