Pounding Pavements

Posted on December 16, 2010

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They say running is the greatest therapy. In my case it is, always has been and today more than ever. Because today it is D-Day … and instead of feeling like all my Christmases have come at once, all my stress has instead …

I arrived in Manchester last night … met my wonderful and long-time friend Kirsteen, made my way to her cool downtown pied a terre and spent the evening having dinner, catching up and needless to say, sipping a little obligatory vino. I crashed around 11pm … and by 1am was wide-awake.

Up … read … toss … turn … snack … lie down … get frustrated

And again

Up … read … toss … turn … snack … lie down … get frustrated

And again, third time lucky

Up … read … toss … turn … snack … lie down … get frustrated

So I did the only thing I knew would relax me and help me get centered.

I ran.

It is 4c in Manchester today (and at 4.30am I expect it was a great deal colder) with blustery winds and rain coming in every direction. But when the buff was on and the gloves to match, the wind-breaker and my ear-muffs, I felt snug as a bug. I ran and ran, all over the city, passed restaurants where I’ve dined, bars where I’ve wined, shops where I’ve spreed and nightspots where I’ve had lock-ins till the very small hours.

I was reminded of how much I miss street life in Dubai … in fact, real life full stop, with its raw edges and stark contrasts between old and young, modern and traditional, rich and poor. I ran by rubbish tips and party goers on their way home, past news vendors preparing for the day ahead and market traders getting set up as their customers were fast asleep, past swanky hotels and elegant converted apartments with sparkling Christmas trees shimmering in the windows. The streets were dead at 4.30am and I watched them come alive with fascination and contentment.

I finished my run at Piccadilly station, warmed up my frozen hands with my signature Massimo Americano from Costa and watched Manchesters’ commuters getting on and off the trains, mostly looking miserable over the cold, harsh weather.

If only they knew, I thought, if only they knew how warm and wonderful they could have been feeling if they too had started their day with a sharp, brisk pound on the streets.

As for why it’s D-day, today I sell my house. And whilst I once made it beautiful and loved living there, I was only there for a year or so. We all tell ourselves when selling a home that it’s just a shell … it’s what’s in it that counts … but in reality, we know it’s not quite so simple. It marks the end of a chapter and the beginning of a sometimes unknown one, it marks a rampant rush in your mind to recollect and safely deposit a bank of memories that you fear you may forget. And in my case, it marks the end of a home I once shared with Aiden.

No wonder they say selling / buying a home is one of the most stressful things we can do. That and the breakdown of a marriage. I wonder then, am I eligible for some kind of prize for handling both in the space of a year?

Perhaps Santa will recognise the strength I’ve had to find and the growing I’ve had to do. Perhaps he’ll recognise this in the form of a duck egg blue box, with a white ribbon and the name of a certain girls name on the top. One can but dream ….!!

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