The Jogger

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jogger.jpgThe Jogger
By Anon Allsop

I sat at my window and peered out into the night sky, only the moon was visible to the naked eye. Pouring myself another glass of liquor, I momentarily studied its contents before downing it. Once again, my drinking companion tonight would be my insomnia - and my damn brain refusing to shut down.

Tears welled into my eyes as I thought of her lovely face constantly in front of me, haunting my mind each and every time I would close my eyes.

How did my life get so screwed up? I cried to the empty room.

Pulling up the blanket that had been covering me like a shroud, up over my shoulders and almost to my neck. Reaching out, once again I refilled my glass. I wanted to feel nothing, and if I died right here in this apartment, perhaps her life would have been better for it.

I kept the room bathed in darkness, although night in the city - nothing is ever truly dark. Light from adjoining buildings and the streets below eked into the room and illuminated it enough to see the damage that I caused with my one stupid wish!

I stood and rested my forehead against the glass, the coolness provided a slight bit of relief to the pounding of my head. Closing my eyes, I could still recall the moments leading up to that fateful, life altering change.

***

I recalled seeing the golden coin laying half hidden in the grass, but the reflection given made it stand out like a jewel. I paused and picked it up, it had mystical etching on one side which looked much like ancient writing. Rolling it over in my hand, it shimmered slightly and I could slowly make out words that didn't appear to be there seconds earlier.

Possessor granted one wish!

I hefted it in my palm, it's weight made me think that it was solid gold. But that would be silly, why would someone not notice a solid gold coin laying on the ground? Sliding it into my pocket, I decided to stop by the coin shop later to see if it had any real value.

That was when I saw her. She was stunningly beautiful, perhaps twenty-three if she was lucky. I was completely mesmerized as she jogged past me on the left.

Her light brown hair was long, almost touching the small of her back. It swung with each stride she took, even though it was in a pony-tail. As she passed, my eyes were pulled down to her narrow waist, bare due to the shortened midriff of her shirt. Her coppery colored skin peeking out under the loose fitting top.

Her red jogging shorts rested gracefully on the swell of her hip, but my eyes didn't rest long on that vision. Lithe smooth, tanned legs carried her forward at a speed that would have killed me.

I followed her with my eyes until she disappeared around the curve ahead. Giving her no further thought, I continued my walk down the trail until I arrived at a small pond.

There she was again.

I had to physically catch my breath as I took in this feminine creature. She was spectacular in every facet of what I had envisioned that true beauty could be. Her face was lovely, nearly perfect in every way. She possessed a slender neck that tapered into the 'V' of her shirt, nearly drawing any onlooker straight to her pert, youthful breasts.

I settled into a bench to rest my feet, and watched her pace with her small hands resting on her hips in an attempt to catch her breath. While trying to be discrete, my eyes followed her as she walked back and forth. I was trying to burn a mental picture of her into my mind in hopes that when I fell asleep that night, my dreams would be visited by this lovely young woman.

I was unlike many of the men who ogled this graceful woman. I didn't want to be with her, I wanted to be her! I wanted to experience life from her perspective - to know passion as only she could feel. To perhaps feel life of an baby begin to grow from within. Or a chance to suckle that infant, from milk produced at my own breast.

Deep within my heart I had always felt I would have enjoyed life as a woman even more so than I had as a man. I knew there were ways to accomplish this, but those ways were expensive and resulted in surgery and hormones. I was far too old to even think about going down that path.

Sighing I looked down at the gray hairs upon my legs and arms. I was well past my prime now, on the down side of the hill if you understand what I mean. It was too late for me to ever entertain the thought of changing myself.

It was then that I remembered that damned coin.

***

Scooting away from the window I felt my heart sink for what had happened. That young woman had never done a thing to me, and I steal the very thing that made her who she was.

Standing up, I shuffled across the flat and sat down on the edge of my bed. There in the mirror, I was forced to look at what I had done. A tear fell against my arm and caused me to look down. The remorse I felt was heavy, like carrying a great weight upon my chest.

Again my eyes were drawn into the mirror. She didn't deserve what I did to her - as much as I didn't deserve what had happened to me! I lay on the bed crying, between sobs my mind returned to the very moment when my - and her, life changed forever.

***

My hand fell against my leg and through the fabric of my clothing, I could feel the round, flat shape of the coin. I chuckled to myself and patted the spot, "If a coin such as you proclaim to be, really did exist - I wish I could become her!"

Looking down at my hand, was like as a child where you hold your hand near your eye and look beyond at something. Your hand appears to be transparent, almost ghostly. I quickly looked up, and then my perspective suddenly changed and I was looking across the trail at myself slowly evaporating like a mirage on a sunny hot day.

In the blink of an eye, the old me was gone - everything! Panic raced through my heart, as the last vestige of me disappeared from view. I began to gasp for air as what had transpired became clear to me, wheezing deeply in my panic attack.

The more I wheezed, the more fear-stricken I became - the more fear-stricken I became, the more I wheezed. The area around me began to spiral, my surroundings merging into one blurry circle. I felt my face grow warm, sweat beading upon my brow and lip. Falling onto the asphalt, as blackness overcame me. I lay prone unable to comprehend those who rushed to my aid.

They moved me to the very bench where my former self had vanished from. Someone asked me to sit with my head between my knees, yet I was hesitant to be this close to a stranger's smooth legs, even if she were now me! Oh my God, what have I done? I gasped aloud.

I could feel a small trickle of blood run down my lip, I wasn't sure if it was from my nose or lip...or both.

A kindly older woman patted my hand, "You must have over done your run, honey, and blacked out."

"She's just having a panic attack." Another responded.

Someone handed me a paper bag to breathe in, as I was struggling with the commotion around me. Sometime after that, in my periphery, up hurried a paramedic, behind him another was pushing a gurney with a large medical kit on it.

He knelt on the ground and held a light to my eyes. "Did you hit your head on the ground when you fell?"

"I.."

"She fell hard, right square on her noggin!" The little old woman offered.

He examined my cheek and split lip that the woman had pointed out. "Can you talk to me miss?"

He looked quickly to a younger man standing nearby, "Help me lay her in the grass, looks as though she's about to pass out again."

"Miss, we're going to lay you down in the grass so I can examine you properly."

I remembered trying to stand and my knees buckled. The paramedic put his face near mine, "Honey, look at me. You have to help us help you - What is your name?"

I must have looked at him with glassy eyes, I opened my mouth but nothing came out. How could I tell them that I didn't know who I was? He looked toward his partner on the opposite side of me, "She may be in shock."

"She is." He was listening to my heart and asked those around us, "Did anyone see any identification? A purse, or pack of some sort?"

I struggled from the ground where I was laying and stood, "Hold on there a minute, you could have some serious damage that might be pretty harmful - you need to lay back down and wait for the ambulance!"

"I - I've gotta go!" I stammered and pushed past those nearest me, and began to run down the sidewalk toward my home.

***

Standing once again before the mirror, I let the blanket fall. Tears welled in my eyes as I looked upon her youthful reflection, "I'm so sorry...I didn't mean to steal your body. Had I known what that coin was going to do, I never would have used it!" I fingered the bottle I had been drinking from. "I killed you!" I sobbed and fell onto the floor, great heaving sobs racked this body I now inhabited.

"I should have died...I should have died." I bawled. It was at that moment that I realized that I could never accept myself in her form, especially knowing I was the one who was responsible for her death. Gradually, I pulled myself from the floor and made my way to my apartment door.

Down the hall and to the right was a door, I slowly and deliberately made my way to it. Opening it ever so slowly - so it wouldn't make a sound, I stepped onto the stairs and pulled it closed behind me. Gradually making my way up in the inky darkness, feeling - searching for the door.

My hand bumped the handle, giving it a turn it opened out to the roof of my apartment building. I was in a turmoil, feeling so guilty for stealing her young form - intent to end my life. I paused at the rail and looked down the several floors to the ground. Trembling uncontrollably for what I was about to do, I felt my knees buckle and this caused me to drop to the roof.

Again assailed by a fit of tears. Off in the distance, thunder rolled. I folded my hands in prayer and bowed my head.

"Please grant me the courage to do what I must." A flicker of lightning danced behind the clouds, "I took what wasn't mine, Lord. I could not go on knowing I was a part of killing the girl who's form I now inhabit."

"Stand up!" A voice from behind me called out.

I turned my head. Facing me was an angel, her great wings unfurled. "It is wrong for you to take your life."

"I am an old man. I found a coin that allowed me to steal a young woman's body...I have no right to possess something that isn't mine!"

"If you end your own life, you WILL definitely be ending hers."

I slowly stood and turned to face the angel. "She lives?"

"She does." The angel lowered her wings and the spirit of the young woman stepped out from behind. "It is up to her whether you remain as her, or be sent off to oblivion."

The young spirit stood before her former body and then turned back toward the angel, "I could no more sentence him to death, as he could me!"

"Yes. Please return to your body and I will go willingly." I sounded hopeful.

She looked back into my eyes, studying them intently. "You are showing so much remorse, why exactly did you hijack my body?"

Looking down with embarrassment I began to cry. I could say nothing, yet deep down I think she already knew.

The spirit smiled at me, "Last night, I had been asked by my boyfriend - to marry him. That was why I was running - It allows me to clear my head. That was why I wanted so desperately to keep my body."

Again my eyes welled with tears, "I'm so sorry..."

The angel slowly guided her toward me and pushed her spirit back into her body, forcing me out. I stood beside her, thankful that somehow she was able to return back. "What will happen to him?" The girl asked the angel.

The angel sighed, "It is up to you...however, he no longer has access to his old body - it is gone."

"Can he share mine with me?" She asked.

"No. The confusion you would feel might cause you to become crazy."

She studied my transparent spirit for several seconds. "Can you look into my future angel, will I have any children."

The angel nodded, "You and your husband will have three, a boy and two girls."

"Where will their souls come from?"

The angel smiled, "They are former people who have died, returned to heaven, and will await their turn to live again."

"Then I wish for his soul to go to heaven and wait until one of my girls is ready for their soul."

The angel looked at me, "Neither of you will remember this day, nor what she did for you."

The angel waived her arm and the young girl disappeared, returned to her apartment.

I couldn't stop myself from smiling as she carefully wrapped me in her arm, "You are very lucky, and I will share one thing with you. As a mother, you will birth two beautiful children."

"Will they be healthy?"

The angel wagged her finger in front of me. "I have already answered too much - as their mother though, you will love them greatly!" She smiled, "We must go, in heaven time passes in the blink of an eye."

I didn't need to know any more, I was happy. Together we rose, carried straight into heaven by celestial currents.


The End



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