One thing I know for certain is that I like to run. I’ve always thoroughly enjoyed it, I started running in university. In those days some friends and I would run in the morning before we had to go for classes. I weighed about 54kg at the time so it was always difficult explaining my reasons for waking up early and going on such excruciating feats when I could be tucked away safely in my bed. It wasn’t like I needed to lose any weight right?
But how was I to explain the feeling? The endorphin and dopamine, the increased heart rate, the sheer joy, quite frankly I didn’t know exactly what it was myself all I knew was I couldn’t wait till morning so I could plug in my headphones, take off and not stop till I literally couldn’t move anymore.
Even now I still love to run, so on this special day I got up like I do every day put on my running gear and headed out. I absentmindedly walked up my usual trail, while updating my running playlist. The music plays an important role in all of this so it had to be just right.
I got to the starting point, music updated, shoe laces safely tucked into my shoes, I was ready. So I took off.
Everything was going on as it normally did, dodging passers-by and oncoming traffic, the usual stuff. In a short while I reached my 5km halfway mark and knew I had to turn back and head home.
For some reason I was a bit flushed on the run today.
“It’s probably because I didn’t have any supper last night” I thought to myself as I walked for a while to regain my strength.
I had just resumed my “return trip” when I noticed some guys about 150m in front of me, they were staring at something in my direction. I couldn’t see it yet because there was a big school bus parked in front of me, I kept running wondering what it might be.
Then I saw it.
There was a middle-aged woman sitting on the curb her clothes seemed to have been torn off her body, but someone was kind enough to cover her up with a wrapa. She looked uncomfortable, she had a weird look on her face, the type you get when you are just about to throw up and the nausea is at its peak.
“What happened? Was she robbed? Rapped? Beaten, is she a thief? Is she lost or stranded? Is she sick?”
A hundred thoughts flashed through my head at the same time, I was curious to know what was wrong, why she was in that state.
Then, I continued on my run, and I say continue to flatter myself because I had only slowed my pace.
I didn’t even stop.
Like that wasn’t a human being sitting on the side of the road in obvious need of help, like I am not chief advocate at compelling people to always stop and help in similar situations because you might just be the help they need. Like I don’t get infuriated when someone tells me how they crossed lanes and kept on walking in a similar situation.
“How could you have done that? That is so inhumane!” I’d probably snap at whoever was narrating their experience to me.
I didn’t even stop.
I don’t know how I managed to get home after that because my legs gave up on me, I spent the remainder of my morning run deep in thought, trying to convince myself that she had probably already gotten all the help she needed and that the next person to come along was sure to help. Reminding myself of all the other times I had stopped to help others
“see you aren’t such a monster after all”
Sinking further into the hypocrisy pit.
I like to think that I will do everything in my power to make up for that incident but I can’t even say that with any conviction, because there was a time when I was sure I could never live with myself for doing what I did that Sunday morning.
But I am here, living with myself.