I walked out of my yard, ear phones in and checked my watch. Looking down, I noticed a yellow paper airplane amid the leaves on the sidewalk. It was folded out of legal pad paper, and noticing the flattened PBR can next to it, I wondered if someone had given up on their Sunday study session.
I clicked start.
I started running, admiring my shoes — which looked a little too new — and started passing walkers and joggers. A boy was pushing a lawn mower around his yard and got stuck at the bottom of the hill, where the grass met the pavement. I ran around him as he struggled to push it back up.
A college student walked by with a Bob Marley shirt on, bobbing his head to imaginary music. He had a yellow lab trotting next to him without a leash. I ran up on the grass and he whistled so the dog wouldn’t follow. It might have been his PBR.
A girl with blue hair walked by. I think she lives in my building and dates the boy with the piercings and matching candy-colored hair. Maybe they wrote love notes on legal paper and threw them off their balcony.
The streets were suddenly full with parked cars on both sides and church was starting across from the Bi-Rite advertising pork shoulder specials. Students in purple t-shirts and girls in tennis shoes followed their parents while young couples pushed strollers.
So many babies. A mother sat on the steps of her patio in a gated yard on the phone where her toddler in a tie dyed t-shirt bent over in front of her, playing with dirt. His diapered bottom stuck straight up in the air where his head should have been.
I finally got to the bridge, looked over the railing to see the highway below, and turned up the music in my headphones so I could hear the Yeah Yeah Yeahs instead of traffic. I passed an old Nashville couple. The woman had dark hair and glasses with tinted frames that made her look like an owl. Her husband was wearing a gold chain and old Sauconys. He had on one of those 80s windbreakers, the purple kind that TLC used to wear. He hadn’t bothered to zip it all the way, just enough that the teeth clung together at the bottom over his hanging belly.
I crossed the street and started back towards my house, passing a large motor home pulled over in front of the picnic tables outside of the Bi-Rite. The door was propped open and I couldn’t see the inside because there was a blue floral curtain in the way.
I passed a large man in a tight white shirt and gray shorts with a bucket hat on his head. He didn’t move out of the way and I stepped aside and smiled. He did not smile back.
A new father in a flannel shirt walked backwards onto the sidewalk, pulling the stroller around to meet me. I smiled again and he nodded.
I started gaining on the old couple again. Excuse me! Last time, I promise!
I held my hands up in apology and kept at it, chest burning, until I saw my street corner. The boy mowing the lawn had switched with his older brother, who was an expert at turning the mower around when it reached the sidewalk, making straight lines that would please his parents.
The paper plane was still there. I picked it up as a daughter stepped out of a van to help her father back into a spot.
I started through my yard again, gulping for air and stopped to loosen my shoelaces.
The paper plane was blank.