Creative Non-Fiction Short Stories. :) Travel, Oldsters, Love, and Compassion.
Two French tourists in white running shoes jogged yet another lap through the park packed with visitors. Actually, not jogging so much as springing in an animated walk. Even on this chilly day, they bounded the paths. Nearby, two women in long skirts passed through selling flowers. A man in a fez moved to packs of foreign visitors and offered to pose with them for a fee.
The joggers clutched a glove in each fist, removed after they warmed up. It was not an ideal park for running–they kept finding themselves moving through tourist families taking photos–but it was close to their hotel and there was something motivating about running among such a wide audience.
Over his running gear, the male jogger wore a tan wool sweater with brown elbow patches. He paused at a bench to tie his shoe, which was not only white, but emblazoned with gold. As he double-knotted, they huffed and puffed, sighed and gasped, in case there was any wonder that they were proud of their commitment. A run during vacation.
They began again in the direction they had just taken, thus bouncing for a second time through the viewfinder of a large man in a black jacket. His wife posed by a bench, but the athletes blocked her lovely grin. He groaned out loud. Then setting his jaw, he began to shoot a video of the joggers as they took to a nearby path. His wife made various gestures to stop him, but laughed, hugged his free arm. As they climbed a curved path, the woman jogger spotted the camera capturing them on purpose. She made a sound. Her running buddy looked over and spied the paparazzi getting their revenge. As a pair, they couldn’t decide if they should run faster or slower. He hustled up the hill. She slowed and hardened her jaw to display her cheekbones.
At the top, they agreed to call it a day. He pulled at one hamstring for five seconds, then paced in circles while she continued slightly more thorough stretches, such as pretending to push over a tree. They waited casually for the man in black to guide his wife in another direction and headed toward their home away from home.
-Gülhane Parkı, Istanbul, Turkey.