There are more truths in 24 hours of a life than in all the philosophies.
I arrived in Cairns, Australia, during early winter. It was close to 6 p.m. and getting dark when I decided, “It’s now or never – I have to go for a run.” I had spent most of the day sitting in planes and in hotel shuttle vans; I couldn’t stand being sedentary any longer.
I donned my running gear and headed through the hotel lobby to the oceanside walking path. On the way out, I saw Robert, the hotel’s shuttle van driver.
Earlier, when he’d picked me up at the airport, we discovered that running was a common interest.
“Going for a run?” Robert asked.
“Yes,” I said, “but it’s pretty dark out.”
“It’s quite safe,” Robert assured me, “I run all the time at night.” I explained to Robert that as a man he was less vulnerable than I was. “When women are afraid to be out at night,” I said, “it’s not because we fear other women.” The smile fell from Robert’s face. He said, “I know.”
I felt reasonably comfortable along the esplanade because it was active with tourists. Still, as a general safety practice, I kept my eyes in the back of my head.
As I ran to restore my energy and shake off the sluggish feel of the day, I envied Robert his gender protection, to run without care for the night. I believed, though, that he had understood what I tried to convey in a passing moment, about how it feels to wear female skin yet live out loud in spite of it, perhaps because of it. And, in his own way and when the time was right, I also believed he would pass that meaning on.
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