Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Phantom Runner

S was running along the TsimShaTsui East Promenade, in the direction of Hung Hom.  He was about 3 km into his 10 km run, and was already sweating profusely.   He was running past the just-torn-down New World Hotel, when he heard heavy steps to the right and behind.   “This person seems to be running fast,” he thought, expecting to be passed anytime. 

A minute later, the thud-thud-thud-thud was still there.   “This guy does not seem to be so fast after-all,” he thought.  Without turning his head, he stole a glance out of the corner of his right eye.  He could see only a blurred figure, the upper half white and the lower half dark.  “Strange, it almost seems like he is wearing a white shirt and long dark pants. Who would run dressed like that?”

S thought about speeding up to pull away from this person.  But that would be a tacit acknowledgment of his presence.  S did not want to gratify him by giving a reaction.  So he decided against it, and simply continued running at the same speed.  This continued for about 200 meters.  Thud-thud-thud-thud.  Right at S’s shoulder.  Now it sounded more like the heavy pounding of dress shoes. 

Suddenly, it was gone.  Back to the serene solitude.  So what was it?  Perhaps a bored tourist who felt S was running too slowly, who wanted to show S that he could run faster, who then discovered that it wasn’t so easy, and gave up after 300 meters?

It was destined to remain a mystery. 

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