curly hair boy
A borrowed photo from the internet. Almost an exact match to John.

I went for a run this morning. At first I was gloriously alone with my thoughts, my muscles, my breathing, as I ran around the old, abandoned track. It’s just down the road from my temporary living situation. Soon I was joined on the track by a mother and her two small children – a boy and a girl.

The little girl clung to her mom as they strolled down the middle of the track. It was different for the curly-haired boy. I guessed his age to be around three or four. He easily parted ways with his little family and began running back towards me. Just as I was closing in on lapping them all, he put up a waving hand and shouted, “Hello! My name is John!” I happily replied, “Hello John, my name is Kasha!” His mother glanced over her shoulder to check on her little boy’s welfare, so I cheerfully greeted her as well. Immediately, she put her head down and mumbled something that I assumed was a greeting.

The next time I lapped them, John repeated his behavior and words exactly: “Hello! My name is John!” I instantly understood the game and replied with my exact lines as well. I heard John giggle, just a little. When I neared him on my third lap, John was ready for me. This time he giggled and repeated his lines. I giggled and repeated mine. It happened on the fourth lap too. The delivery of our lines were precise, while we both played with the energy of our growing connection. On the fifth lap it changed. This time John shouted, “Do you know me? Who am I?” and then he laughed and laughed. I replied, “I know you well, John. Who am I?” John was so tickled that all he could do was laugh. Of course my level of tickled was through the roof now. I couldn’t wait to see what the next lap would bring.

On my last lap I noticed that John had been pulled close to his mom and sister. He was being scolded. He wanted to look at me and continue the momentum of our game. Instead, he was down, crosslegged on the pavement, with his face buried in his hands. He was not allowed to connect with me. I felt a pain in my heart, but I refused to stop our joy. As I passed by, I shouted, “John! I’m here again, and I know who you are!” Mom wasn’t happy with me. No matter. I wanted John to know that I enjoyed our game, and that each time we looped around and became aware of each other again, it was a brand new moment of seeing and experiencing our shared awareness of life… both in the game and beyond.

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