Living in a tightly packed townhouse complex, we end up living with a lot of neighbors. Their late nights, become out late nights, their home improvement projects become our pounding headaches. Well tonight, at this late hour of 10:30pm, I came up to our office to check my email since I didn't feel well today and stayed horizontal and away from the computer. It's a tad warm up here so our window is open, and I can hear the occasional shuffling of feet outside.
Just behind our unit is a circle of grass which is surrounded by other units and parking lots. The lighting out there isn't too good, so I can't really see what is going on, but every few minutes or so I can hear shuffling, and after a few more minutes that shuffling is accompanied by panting. I say to Eric that I think I hear someone out there running laps. He says that the other night he saw a young girl out there doing laps and that she didn't look like she was doing very well, and that she was a little .... (as he makes the gesture that she was probably a little rounder). By that time, her panting had turned into sobs. I can barely make her out by the few lights in the area, but I can see her stop, hunched over, and then push herself to keep going. Soon someone has come out to get her, telling her to stop and to go to bed, and despite her protests the sobs and shuffling went silent.
So I wonder. Is she sneaking out to run? Is she feeling the pressure to be more fit or is it to be thin?
I couldn't help but feel sad for her. I wanted to go out and hug her, but somewhere in me I also wanted to get out there and run with her. Of course I have no idea what this girl's actual story is, but I immediately started projecting my own and many other girls (and guys) story onto her.
I hope that in that home she went to tonight, the people there are being supportive of her, and not berating her for her battles and challenges. I wonder if we will hear those shuffling footsteps again tomorrow night.