An old memory

This morning at about 3 am, I was lying on the bed, shifting from this side to that side, unable to go to sleep. I did not know why. Because of the coffee, or because I went to bed earlier than before? One idea popped into my mind that maybe I could mentally exercise for a while and get myself exhausted and then I could have a sound sleep.

I began to imagine running. Hands swaying, legs moving, mouth opening, and I just ran and ran, in the imaginary field. Then suddenly I remembered that I used to run like this many, many years ago. I was in grade school, 12 or 13 years old. At about 5 o’clock, I forced myself to get up and dressed in cheap blue exercise suit with white stripes and opened the door and began to run along the driving ways. Turn right and pass two homes and a large fabric factory (the eldest one in the town), then turn right to the main street, cross a small bridge, keep going forward, then turn right into a dark road, run, and then cross another bridge, and then thrust for 50 meters, or 100 meters, then stop, gasping, walk to the home.

Sometimes when running, I could see early workers coming to the working site driving bicycles, or vegetable peddlers carrying fresh leaves with a bamboo pole or sometimes a wheeled cart, and sometimes trucks or cars passing by. It was the drawn time but these people or moving objects looked unreal to me. Along with my running, the sky became clearer and rooster singing could be heard here and there though not frequently, and all the scents soon became real.

When back home, I would change the cloth, wash my face, read for about half an hour while preparing the breakfast, usually as simple as boiled rice and half an egg. My muscles thawed, yet I would be spirited. A whole day would be expecting me.

This memory has been stored in my brain for more than 20 years, but this is the first time I recall it. I don’t know why. I could not tell exactly what I felt at that time. Sometimes I ran for 1 or 2 miles in the chilly wind, which was not easy for a kid at that age, especially without a company. Why I did not keep running all these years? Why I have not formed any habit or interest of running? Is that because that early experience was not encouraging? Is that the running at that time was a form of fight toward my stuttering? I really don’t know.


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