“Are you okay?” A woman is beside me yanking earpods from her ears. She has big, brown eyes, super short, curly hair, and smooth, ebony skin. She’s older than me and in great shape. Beautiful.
She touches my arm, her face a picture of concern.
I shrug, unable to speak for the tears clogging my throat.
“Oh, honey. Are you hurt?”
I shake my head.
She rubs my arm and waits.
“I can’t run…” My voice sounds pitiful. Weak. Like me.
“Are you hurt?” she repeats. “Look at me, baby.”
I force myself to look up from my running shoes.
“Why can’t you run?” Her voice is quiet, gentle.
“I’m…I’m out of shape.” My voice returns, harsh and angry, opposite of hers. “Fat.”
I hear, actually hear her intake of breath.
“No,” she says. “Walk with me? Which way were you going?”
“To the gym.”