As you all know I am a devoted wife, going above and beyond the call of duty when required.
I have earned serious brownie points (but, sadly, not actual brownies) over the last few months by doing a regular station run at stupid o’clock to enable Le Pomme to hurtle off down the East Coast mainline to the giant metropolis of London, without incurring ridiculous parking costs. It’s a long and complicated story.
Our early morning forays into York have been accomplished with me in my pajamas. Thankfully, I have not broken down, as I can imagine that would be rather embarrassing – not that the threat of potentially doing so made me get dressed in the middle of the night – when it comes to waiting at the side of the road, in a hedge, for the very nice man, the very very nice man, to turn up.
Over the weeks I have started to feel somewhat of a regular commuter. I’m not talking about Le Pomme having his own spot on the platform to wait and insisting we leave home at 16 minutes past the hour exactly or anything – but because, like anything you start to do regularly, you see patterns forming, and get a glimpse into other people’s lives.
And so it is with Running Lady.
For at least 10 weeks, there she was, pounding the streets, blonde ponytail bobbing. She outfoxed us a couple of times, when we were slightly ahead or behind of schedule, by being accordingly in front or behind of her usual spot.
And then for the last 2 weeks, nothing. Zip, nada. We haven’t seen her at all. We’re quite concerned about her, actually, and now I guess we’ll never know why she hasn’t run for the past couple of weeks. We’ve come up with several theories, each wilder than the last. Le Pomme is more realistic than I; his ideas are of the more normal kind; perhaps a running injury or a new job meaning she now runs in the evenings. I suspect she is sunning herself on a beach somewhere, or someone stole her trainers. Just so long as she doesn’t think that we were stalking her! I’m hopeful she’s just taking a break from running and instead has taken up show jumping, competitive doughnut eating or perhaps macramé.
I miss her. And it reminded me of why I loved walking round London so much when I lived there, glimpsing a window into other people’s lives. I was always amazed at how many people left their curtains open, for a start! It was fascinating to see families gathering, children homeworking, or just to glance in and admire their choice in interior design. The regularity of commuting gave me a certainty about my journey to work – I’d always see the same two children waiting for the school bus, the same paper man on the corner, see the same people on the platform. And then you realise that you must be part of other people’s routines if you have one yourself.
So then you begin to wonder who is watching out for you as part of their routine.
And start thinking you should move to the country.