Published in Crack the Spine
My long runs always start at my grandfather’s nursing home. They end, depending on the day, fifteen or twenty or more miles later at the nature preserve parking lot across the street.
I visit my grandfather every Thursday after work. I change into athletic clothes and drive to the nature preserve and, despite the mud and risk of a break-in, I park there instead of in the nursing home’s immaculate lot.
Today, I meet my grandfather in the lounge. The mostly-empty tables, basket of sugar-free cookies, and pots of decaf coffee and hot water match the room’s pervasive stench of age. I try to ignore the derelict man in the corner with his large-print book and oxygen tank. A muted TV on the wall broadcasts golf to an absent audience. […]