Personal Musings

Chasing Ghosts

There’s a guy that lives near me.
Where exactly I don’t know. He’s a runner.
I see him once or twice a week as he
runs past the tree-line behind my house.

In my mind, he looks almost identical to
what my friend Jeremiah would look like
if he were still alive today. I jokingly say
to my wife, “There goes Jeremiah”
whenever I see him.

Same build. Same height. Same hair color
and texture. I tend to think Jeremiah would
have much less hair nowadays, and I would
poke him about this because that’s what
friends do; but outside of that, this guy
is his doppelgänger, albeit a year
or two younger than me as opposed to
older. Allison agrees.

Despite me being a runner and this guy
being a runner, we are always headed in
the opposite direction on our runs. It’s
been like this for 10 years or more —
but not this past Sunday.

As I made it to the top of the hill on
my street and began turning right,
Jeremiah’s doppelgänger appeared in
front of me. I ran behind him for about
a mile before we went our separate ways:
I continued down a single track trail
leading to the woods and he toward a
subdivision and residential neighborhood.

While behind him, I felt as if I was
chasing after a ghost. There was nothing
spooky about the occurrence. Instead, there
was a lightness to my run. I even smiled at
one point.

I felt like I was running with Jeremiah,
transported back to our hometown of Phenix,
struggling our way to Nollie Road, to 666
and back, a cigarette break in between.

Who brings cigarettes on a run? Jeremiah.
And who smokes cigarettes mid-run? We all did.
A bunch of dumb teenagers with our entire
lives ahead of us. Invincible and free —
or so we thought. Why think any differently?

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