Number Two runs in a jig, his feet kicking out to the sides yet propelling him forward. "No run! No run!" he shouts as short legs splay from his torso, the swish and the sweep finding a strange traction. I’m not sure if he knows what he’s saying. I can’t be sure that I know what words are coming out of his mouth. But it sounds like “no run” as he burns rubber in light-up sneakers that illuminate trails at home, at the ballpark, at the furniture store, and on the sidewalk in front of his sister’s school.
Number Two doesn’t seem to need words the way The Boss does. He is absorbed by process while his sister thrives on explanation. Number Two runs to feel the earth more, to feel the wind more, to feel the catch in his lungs and then the exhale. The Boss, on the other hand, runs so that she can be the first person to arrive at the finish line with a story to tell.
When my son moves, he is so solid on the ground that he seems to weigh down the sky. “No run! No run!” The language is what floats away. Does he mean he knows the rules, but is flaunting them? Is he telling me I shouldn’t chase him? Is he saying no to everything except the race? “No! Run!”
I don’t get it. I don't get him. But as Number Two darts away from my grasp in a fit of laughter, I see that my running enigma is sure enough for the both of us. Steady enough, too.