Running away

London, England

You come from behind and swoosh past me at great speed, nearly brushing my side, oblivious of me. One moment you are there, another and you are gone, in your world, running at pace and lost in your earphones.

I shout at the receding back of your head, “Give me two meters!” but you are gone and anyway you can’t hear anything I say, the music in yours ears drowns my voice.

Next time this happens, you invading my safety space in a devil may care attitude, I will run and pant after you and confront you: “How can you be so careless, so into your own need for speed, fitness and escape that you don’t take a moment to keep me safe? What makes you so invincible and superior that you can discard someone’s safety and not care?”

You are already one of the lucky ones. Your sport has not been banned as others have. No more swimming, in pools, ponds, lakes or the sea. No more matches. No more walking in National Parks. So many “No more”.

So, think of others quietly walking for peace or sanity, or walking at pace for exercise while inhaling the beauty and nature. Give us a minimum of two meters but ideally way more as we know that your droplets in your trail will catch us from much further than two meters. 

Who are we? Anyone you treat in such thoughtless manner. We could be your cousin, your parents, your granny, your siblings, your friends, you don’t know who we are, you did not see us as you run so fast and did not notice us. If only you visualized us as the closest and frailest person in your life, or one of your icons, your favourite musician, writer, footballer, actor…maybe, just maybe, you would overtake us with care and with four or five meters between us. 

For now you have made me scared to walk, my only outing every day as I self-isolate and shy away from all shops, from all human interaction except those living in my household. 

Maybe you run so fast and so carelessly because you too are afraid of what is happening all around us but stop it please. Think of others, let us live in peace, let us walk in peace, give us space and stop compromising our safety and health. Open your eyes to others.

Sophie Gateclou-Marest
April 2020

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