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Fool in the Rain

Scott Ludwig, December 2016

The boys in the lobby of the movie theater looked outside and saw the man in his 20’s running in the rain; a rain so cold that it eventually turned into hail.  The boys laughed amongst themselves and reminded one another to slap each other silly if they ever did anything as stupid as wear shorts and run in the cold, cold rain.  If the boys had only known the man had just learned he was going to be a father for the first time they may not have been so judgmental.  After all, the young man was a runner and that’s what runners do when they can’t find words to express their joy.  They run.

The elderly couple sitting on their front porch so they could enjoy the afternoon thunderstorm was caught by surprise when they saw a man in his 30’s sprinting past their front yard.  They wondered if he was trying to outrun the thunder and lightning and why he didn’t have the sense to simply stop and seek shelter.  Had they asked the man would have told them he received a promotion at work earlier in the day and the run was one of celebration and that he hadn’t really noticed he was in the midst of a rain storm.  After all, the man was a runner and that’s what runners do when they have something to celebrate.  They run.  

The kids on the school bus looked outside the window and pressed their faces to the cold glass to see the two men—both in their 40’s—running on the side of the road in the middle of a driving snowstorm that was leaving hidden patches of ice in its wake.  ‘Look at the dummies running in the ice and snow!’ was a sentiment everyone—including the bus driver—shared as they made fun of the two men.  If the occupants of the school bus had only known that one of the runners had cancer, would be gone before the spring thaw and this was the last time the two of them would run together they may have felt differently.  After all, the men were runners and that’s what runners do when they need to cope.  They run.

The newlyweds looked out their front window and saw him.  A man—probably in his 50’s—running down the street in a torrential downpour.  The newlyweds looked at one another, their facial expressions showing they shared the same thought: ‘Only a fool would be out running on a day like this.’  The newlyweds never did take the time to acquaint themselves with the man in his 50’s.  If they had they would have learned that he lost his father earlier that day and the best way of coping with his loss was to go for a run.  After all, the man was a runner and that’s what runners do when they need to grieve.  They run.    

No one saw the man in his 60’s as he ran up and down the streets of town at 5 a.m. on a Saturday morning in November in weather that wasn’t fit for man or beast.  Cold, windy, monsoon-like rain with frequent burst of thunder and lightning didn’t deter the man from his morning run.  After all, the man was a runner and he was simply enjoying something he’d enjoyed doing for almost 40 years.   That’s what runners do; they run.

It’s a shame no one saw the man that morning.  For if they had, they would have been able to say they had seen a man who took pride in being the fool in the rain.