The Speedwalkers

Where’d walker #3 go?

Up at 5:15 and out the door minutes later, Randolph was starting New Year’s resolution with exercise and fresh air. He was willing to give it a month of just getting up early, going for a brisk walk, and returning to enjoy a good breakfast.  

He wasn’t new to walking, just walking so early in the morning.

This first morning the traffic was light and quieter than his evening walks.

Across the street, he saw a trio of walkers, all women wearing reflective safety vests, walking at a much faster pace than him, going the opposite way. They walked two abreast with a third leaning forward and a foot behind to keep pace. He couldn’t make out the conversation – only words – but they were talking almost as fast as they were walking.

Randolph could see their arms pumping fast above their bellies. This trio was on an exercise mission of their own.

“Mornin’, Ladies,” Randolph said. He didn’t need to shout because of the quiet street.

Their pace slowed as they looked his way, waved, and continued walking. Because of the momentary lull, #3 walker went around #2 and was now leading the pack walking backwards and talking. The pace was still the same before the wave, but #3 talked while she walked backwards.

Randolph paused and faced the women. There was something oddly satisfying about this trio and he didn’t want to miss it, nor did he want to keep walking and run into something because he wasn’t paying attention. Only after they turned the corner and were out of sight did he resume walking.

For weeks afterwards, Randolph saw the trio was reduced to a duo. Since the two wore the same safety vests, it was easy to see that #3 walker – the backwards walking usurper – was missing.

Randolph did as he did that first morning – waved and yelled, and they returned the same, but still there were only two speedwalkers.

Five weeks into his exercise routine, Randolph crossed the street so he could actually say more than Hi to his co-walkers.

When they approached, he smiled and said, “Hi, Ladies, normally I’m over there waving and hollering, but I’ve got to ask you about the third lady? What happened to her? I saw her once or twice but haven’t seen her since.”

The brunette was the first to speak, “Oh her? The backwards walker? She wasn’t our type, know what I mean?”

“Uh, no. Not really.”

“Jenn, can you explain?”

Jenn, the redhead, said, “She doesn’t like chocolate. This is the Early Morning Chocolate Walkers Club. Not a catchy name but when we found out she was allergic to chocolate, we told her she couldn’t walk with us anymore. Isn’t that right, Grace?”

“She’s right, I’m afraid,” Grace said with slight smirk.

“Thanks, have a great morning,” Randolph said.

He watched as the two started walking again, their arms high and pumping fast. Both giggled as if they had pulled a fast one on the curious man.

Randolph continued in his direction, half believing them, and half wondering why the third woman really was no longer walking with them.

“But, on the other hand,” Randolph thought. “If it were true, why wasn’t I invited to this club and why am I only finding out about it now?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *