The Farewell Run


Run out the door, down the driveway turn left.  Am going to say goodbye to the neighborhood that has been my family’s world for the past 21 years.

It is the first bona fide over 80 degree day of the year.  6:30 in the evening.  Too hot for Nala.  Cross the street, and head into the next subdivision.  A man is power washing his driveway.  A familiar car goes by – ex-husband and his wife.  They turn at the next street.  We live close by.

Down the road past the old elementary school.  Would run through it, but it looks deserted and saw a scary movie yesterday so no thanks.  Keep going, turn right up the hill.

Run through park with its baseball diamond and soccer field where Noelle used to have practice.  Families play on the swings.  Keep going.

This neighborhood is one of the older ones.  The houses are smaller without Italian stucco or river rock exteriors.  Get to the fantastic garden that is my favorite.  She is out there tending to it as usual.  Today in yellow shorts.  Each time I pass she’s done something else.  It is the FAO Schwarz of gardens.  Every plant is alternated with something fantastical.  Plant - pinwheel (and not just any old pinwheel – every kind of color and some are double pinwheeled).  Plant –miniature flamingo (with bulbs for eyes).  Plant – dragonfly (with bulbs for eyes).  Concrete pieces with plastic trucks “working” and miniature orange cones.  It is grandma’s kitchy garden on steroids, and she is no older than me.  I tell her I love her garden as I run by and she smiles and waves her trowel at me.

Get to the big houses.  The roads have names like “Magnolia Lane.”   Weave up and off of sidewalks to avoid basketball hoops.  Arrive at Elizabeth Blackwell Elementary.   It opened in time for all three of my girls to go there.  Run around the back.  It is never empty.  A child is wobbling on a bicycle.  His father is running beside him with his hand resting on the child’s back – pushing him.  Barely pushing.  Pretending actually.  I can remember doing that.

Turn around to head back.  Run through the neighborhoods on the other side of the street.  Am thinking – this is like being in a movie about suburbia.  No one would believe me if I described this.  It seems so idyllic in an Americana kind of way.  Don’t pass any other runners.  But see the old couple holding hands.  The group of four friends laughing.  The father and son with their tennis rackets.

Am almost home, a car pulls over.  It is Cristina.  Going to see her dad.   Tell her am on my farewell run.  She takes off.  Think can this “movie” get any more nostalgic.  Am a little startled by movement just to the  left.  It is the brown bunny who hops around and drives Nala nuts as she watches it through the window.

Cross the street, run up the driveway.  Am almost to the front door when a humming bird arcs around the roses in the garden.

A Farewell Run Indeed.