I said hello to other runners as they passed me. The other young runners, that is. Older runners didn’t interest me. In fact, for some reason, they made me feel uneasy.
Every once in a while, I’d see this older man on the trail. I’d watch him jogging toward me, but as he drew near, I would lower my gaze. Close up, I never looked at him or even acknowledged him.
In my thirties, I still ran at a good clip but not as fast. I’d still see the old man from time to time too. Now he was trotting, not jogging, and when he got close, I’d still avert my gaze.
When I hit 40, I dialed back on running and started jogging. My knees began to hurt. I still said hello to the younger runners, although some of them seemed not to see me, especially the women.
And I’d still see that old man. Now he was walking. When I passed by him, I still didn’t look at him.
At 45, my hips began to hurt, and I began to alternate walking and jogging. None of the other runners paid much attention to me. I felt invisible to women.
One day, I spotted the old man in the distance. He was walking with a cane. As I got closer, I decided to look at his face. The closer I got, the more familiar he seemed. When we were just a few feet apart, I realized he looked just like me, and his face was simply an older version of mine.
“Hello,” I said.
“Hello,” he said, smiling.