Geri Potts slowed as she crested Flagstaff Hill to bring her heart rate down a bit. She felt good-her legs springing from stride to stride and her head was crystal clear. Out of the trees the morning sun warmed her back and filled the campus below with a soft golden glow. It had been awhile since mornings were something she enjoyed.
There were more people on the top path so she settled into her pace and stayed to the right of center feeling the crunch of the gravel beneath her feet. She felt someone just behind her and scooched a little further right to give them more room to pass. The heavy footfalls, definitely a guy, gained on her but didn’t pass-just lingered at her left shoulder.
“I assume those are consensual”, he said easily through shallow breaths.
It was Richard Stiffie. Or Rick, Rich, Richie, but definitely never Dick. For obvious reasons. Richard was the first guy who had tried to date her when she hit campus three years ago. He was a great guy but that “guy” thing was the killer for her. When he realized it was a gender battle he could never win he settled-unhappily at first-into the role of BSGF-Best Straight Guy Friend. It was a job that had grown on him and it wasn’t an easy one.
“Yes Richard, totally consensual. Good Morning by the way.”
His comment had taken her by surprise. She had run in longer sweats and tights for the last couple of days but this morning had been so beautiful, the air so crisp, she said, “Fuck it” and went with the red shorts.
He settled in beside her matching step for step. Not easy-she was a gazelle, he was a plow horse. “Haven’t heard from you in a while, Piggy”, he said using the nickname that only he knew. It was true, between her sorority duties, spring track, finishing up the term and all the other shit…
“My time has been crushed….”
“Yeah, texting ‘Hi’ would really take a bite out of your day.”
She reached over and punched him in the shoulder without breaking stride. “Don’t get all cunty on me Richard”, she said.
They ran along in silence. She regretted not staying with the capris for a couple more days. She spoke when the silence became uncomfortable.
“I’m okay Richie. Don’t think I’m insane or anything.” Nothing. Just his breathing. “I haven’t had a drink in almost a week.”
She began to quicken her pace to run away from the conversation more than from Richie. He held out his fist and she bumped it once before she started to put space between them.
“Call me if you need me…” he called. She answered with a two-finger wave.
He fell back and watched her spring off-pony tail swinging through the hole in the back of her hat-arms pumping in perfect synchronization and below the red shorts that tightly clung to her sculpted ass six dark stripes traversed the backs of her thighs.
They were perfectly drawn as if measured and calibrated-each with a flowery burst at the end. They were a blurred purple, faded-a few days old-and he wondered what they had looked like in their glory. Or what the shorts were hiding.
As she shrunk in the distance and disappeared into the stand of sycamores Richard turned toward the gym, torn between the desire for a hot coffee he’d had earlier and the cold shower he needed now.
“Damn, Piggy…” he thought.