I'm on the balcony, a thin white robe slicing open at my bare breast and bare thighs. I'm admiring my newly tanned legs in the diminishing sunlight, smoking and snapping pictures. I lean back, the wind sliding up my thighs like a whisper, the robe falling open a few more inches less decent considering I am naked underneath.
I could do this, I think to myself. I could live this life.
I could spend my life flying from place to place, letting the sun warm my skin and learning new languages and cuisines. I could reasonably take up a life of pleasure, indulging my whims and my desires across continents. I could swim in every body of water. I could climb mountains. I could hike jungles. I could take a new name and a new lover every place I went, slipping away in the middle of the night, leaving only a fond memory in my wake. I could wake up with the birds or with the bats. I could see the world. I could travel and experience, tethered to nothing, responsible to no one. I could actually, finally, live in the world rather than just exist in it.
But not if it's running, I say to myself and I know it to be true before the thought even finishes.
I take a hard drag and pull my hair down from its perch atop my head. It's heavy with salt water and smelling like fruit. I tug at the mangled curls and think about where I go next.
I could live this life. I could. I know.
But not if it's running.
This I know too.