In the continuing saga of my life as an international woman of mystery…
I had been planning to run the Edinburgh Half Marathon for some time, so I left Amsterdam for Scotland on Saturday afternoon.
I have a weird relationship with Scotland, because my trips to Scotland or my interactions with the Scotland Tourism Board always seem to be the prelude to The Strangest Things. But more on that another time. More on the whole story of and experience surrounding the race another time.
The point is, on Sunday, I ran.
I was startled by the brilliant, crisp sunshine; I was breathtaken by the sunshine on the sea.
I have found that in running, you are often met exactly where you need to be met, even when you had no idea where you are or need to be. That was where I found myself on Sunday: ragged; road-worn; torn-apart; over-extended; exactly where I needed to be.
I finished the race, and took some celebratory photos with a friend. I promptly lost a brand new pair of sunglasses, and then accepted the challenge to get myself back to London immediately. I was worn out; felt rather sick; had some business to attend to that would be easier to handle from London; needed a non-hotel bed.
My dear friend PG had just returned from his North Pole trek, and I was desperate to see him, so I arranged to get back to London as quickly as possible.
PG decided I should take the train from the airport to him.
Ironically, it wasn’t the first time I’d been convinced by an Englishman to come back from Edinburgh on a May bank holiday weekend. D had successfully undertaken that feat two years ago. It was hard to believe it had been two years since then!
But I made it back to Heathrow unscathed, and arrived via train to PG, where we immediately went for Thai food. Then he walked me through a dark park, all the while crowing about how London was the best, safest city in the world.
Except for the time you got attacked by that robber! And the recent…beheadings, I said.
Maybe a year ago, PG had witnessed a robbery on the banks of the Thames, and had chased down the robber, lightly beaten him, and sat on him whilst waiting for the police to arrive.
What?! I attacked him! He ignored my statement about the recent attack and proceeded to recount how he had chased down a crook. Then he reminded me that he’d been awarded a medal for bravery from the police department.
London. Safest city in the world!
We made it through the dark park without incident, and arrived at his flat where we put Sideways on the television. Within minutes we were both asleep on the sofa.
And it felt normal — everything felt normal again. There on the television screen were the places I had grown up. In fact, the characters were passing Pea Soup Andersen’s — the restaurant where my brother and I had taken photos after the half marathon we’d run together in March.
And more importantly, I was back in a city to which I had grown strangely accustomed over the last two years.
It was all as normal as my life as going to be for now. My normal was exactly here; exactly this; exactly Okay.