duct duct duct DUCTS.ORG Issue 12 | Winter 2003 the webzine of personal stories   duct
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"In a crowded city surely someone will notice that the loneliest one is all alone."

Richard Fein

In all that time, I never said even a hello to them.
They'd jog side by side
from the Verrazano Bridge along the bay to the Sixty-Ninth Street Pier,
where they'd fall into each other's arms and rest for a while,
before jogging back to the bridge.
And the next day they'd jog again,
coming and going like some kind of morning tide.

But day by day a distance grew between them,
so what was once a side by side effort turned into a tandem run,
with each keeping an individual pace.
Then one day they both reached the usual point,
halfway between where they came from and where they were going to,
but at their own separate time.
They didn't embrace,
for one needed a pause to rest,
while the other was rested and needed to move on.
Soon after they stopped even the pretense of jogging together.
Finally they were gone from my sight and memory.

But one afternoon while driving along the FDR drive, I saw her familiar face.
She was dressed for jogging,
but was walking alone very slowly along the riverside path,
while the whitecaps of the East River below were furious and swift.

And one morning months later, I saw him by the lower bay.
He was sitting alone on the pier
but somehow managed to pick my usual waterside bench.
And in that early morning,
his eyes followed the path from bridge to pier and back again.
But there was no couple running together to watch.

And like it had always been with me,
the current in the bay was strong and fast,
the gulls loudly cried overhead,
and immigrant fishermen mumbled,
some in Spanish, some in Russian.

And always the ships,
the ships passing
under that graceful bridge,
some arriving. Some departing,
some seeming never to move.


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