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I am scared of running at night.

Joined: 10/31/2013
Posts: 1
I love the idea of walking at night, it’s meant to be peaceful. My neighborhood isn’t suburban but it’s not quite ghetto; the best way to describe it is that no white picket fences exist for miles. Chain-linked fences are popular in the streets surrounding my house, and so are homeless people. At night, there aren’t any kids speeding around on skateboards, and there are hardly any men walking around around as if they’re about to make a drug deal.
On summer nights, I ran around the park for a few miles. I started going north, and I ran past the pool attached to the park. It was covered with blue tarp, shining with the streetlamps’ yellow reflection.
After I huffed past the pool, I made a right and went past the baseball field. I saw a few dog-walkers with their dogs, playing with tennis balls. None of them bothered to say hello after I managed a smile, they stared back with tired eyes that said, “It is 9:00 and I am picking up dog poop, don’t look at me.” The dog-walkers’ hostile glares should’ve been an omen that this wasn’t going to be the most pleasant run.
Even though the omen stared me right in the face, I swerved left to run the longest portion of the park; down the dirt field. A whole soccer club practiced there, and their friends watched, standing by their leased BMWs and chain-smoking (even though that’s against the law in my city).
These men with their five o’clock shadow bluntly stared at me. I weaved through the crowds of them, and they turned their heads as I went by, deep frowns etched into their faces. I could’ve drawn a dark cloud over their heads and captioned them, “How dare this teenager interrupt me?” I was a distraction to them, an unnecessary factor to their night. Nothing was terrifying about them, besides the fact that I was inhaling lung cancer while I ran past them.
I escaped the puffs of smoke and turned past the dumpsters and the kindergarten play area. Yards away from the kindergarten playground was a small indention for benches and trees planted in the pavement. I wasn’t thinking of the benches or who could possibly be sitting on them, I felt so done with the run that I decided to saunter past it. I pulled my headphones off and my steps slowed to a shuffle equivalent to my grandma’s, I was staring down at my phone’s glowing screen to check the time. 9:15.
“Why’d you stop running? Feeling sick? Wanna sit down?” I heard a voice in the dark say. I heard myself yelp out a profanity and I almost tripped over my burning feet. My eyes searched for the source of the voice, and I saw a homeless man standing behind a cart filled with recyclables, wearing layers of dirty sweaters and raggedy sneakers. “No thanks, bye!” my voice managed to screech, and I sprinted back home.
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