My legs were shaking. My knees were shaking. I barely finished 10 hops of ‘frog suburi,’ but I was already panting hard, and part of me wanted to just give up and call it a day. But a couple of strangers behind me snickered, and I could barely hear a girl’s mocking voice say: “See, he can’t do it anymore.”
I was tempted to whirl around, snarl at them to try doing my exercise routine. But I did not. Instead, I took a deep breath, stood up, and proceeded with the next routines. Faster. Sharper. Stronger.
By the time I was done with my second round, it was quiet again. I didn’t even notice them leave. Part of me wanted to feel smug. Part of me wondered, hoped, if in some way, they learned something from me that night.
The grass was moist, but the ground was dry and cool. For the first time in a very long while, I hugged the earth without a care or thought. I smelled the sweet aroma of the soil mixed with organic decay. I listened at the sounds: of footsteps from various joggers and strollers, of distant honks and beeps from cars whizzing outside the park, of children squealing as they try to chase after the resident cats and parents yelling after them. And slowly, I gazed around me: at the artificial lights diffused by the rustling leaves of trees, at the ever-unreachable dark sky pimpled by stars where the luminescent clouds couldn’t hide them. And for a moment, I was filled again with the same longing, heartbreaking joyfulness that I’ve always felt at nights like this during my youth.
Oh God, I’m already 36 years old. I’m too old for this.
Why am I even doing this? Continue reading