I Spy With...

Entry by: Obergo

24th March 2017
I spy the birds that fly!

I went for a run yesterday morning. It was the morning we left, after a week of rock climbing. I have been sharing a hostel room with Marie, Lauren and Jess for the last seven nights, and this was the only morning I managed to get myself up for a run.
I woke up in my shorts, t-shirt and hoodie, hair still tied in a loose ponytail. I had forgotten my pyjamas and so each night found myself lifting up clothes from my bag trying to judge if I wanted to sleep in them. By the fifth night I lost track of what I had tried out. I hadn’t brought enough knickers with me and I didn’t like wearing joggers to bed without knickers on, so the final nights had been in my running shorts and any non smelly t-shirts, with a hoodie for good measure. Not having my pyjamas left everything else nighttime-routine-wise bobbing around. I would normally take my hair down, brush my teeth, wash and moisturise my face, but this week I had got into the habit of crawling under the covers, unprepared.
I don’t think this was the case for the others. Jess wore a pair of cotton pyjama bottoms and a North Face t-shirt each night, Lauren wore what looked like long johns and a tight long-sleeved top and then there was Marie. Marie was in a silky dressing gown whenever she was pottering around the room in the morning. I had seen her in big t-shirts before, because we are housemates in Wicklow, but not this silky little number. At home she would just wear the t-shirt and a pair of knickers. I know her naked feet, long legs and meaty thighs, making that sticky sound as she walks across to the kitchen from her room.
She told me this week that an American fisherman, who she met when she was salmon fishing in Alaska used to like to watch her going for a wee and then turn her around on the loo and have sex with her before she had a chance to wipe.
She told me that one evening in the kitchen in the hostel when two DJs on the radio started talking about allegations that Donald Trump had paid women in Moscow to pee on him. The DJs were joking about urinating in the bedroom and I started to listen, then I told Marie to listen.
We both quickly agreed that it was disgusting. I think I muttered something about Trump being an idiot. We were doing separate things in the kitchen. I was washing up and Marie was looking for the things she would put together for dinner.
I looked down at the cup I was washing, and just said: “I kind of get it though”. And I do. Irrationally, animalistically, the warm wetness of wee, a pussy, maybe she’s crouching, maybe it’s tricking down her leg, the fact that it is the most private of acts, suddenly, open, seen, shared. It is a loosening of her. I can’t rationally imagine a man enjoying the urine. It is something else beyond that. But there is something there that is hot.
When I said I kind of got it, Marie said straight away, yes and then that's when she told me about the fisherman.
So, yesterday morning I ran. I kept the same shorts on that I had worn as pyjamas. I was safe to run in them because I knew I was leaving that day. In the evenings I had run with a headlamp, and I had put it on again out of habit.
As I opened the door of the hostel, Johnny was walking to his car to put his bags in. His head bent. His body loaded with the weight of the bags. I hadn’t seen him yet this morning because we were sleeping in separate rooms, seeing as he is the instructor and I am a student and we shouldn't be sleeping together. In Wicklow I'm always over at his, and people know, I think. I walked up to him to give him a kiss because there was no one around. He looked at me, slapped my ass and asked if I was going for a run. I said yes, and turned to go. I like the scarcity in him. I liked that he slapped me on the bum instead of saying good morning. It was all I needed. I jogged slowly up to the opening of the drive and turned left, the low wall of the hostel on my left, and Johnny just reaching his car in the driveway as I passed. I suddenly noticed that it was bright, and the headlamp was unnecessary. I turned, Johnny! Johnny! I shouted, he looked up, I ran over to the low wall and said “can I give you this?” He put his hand out for the headlamp. “And a kiss?” I asked him. He leaned over to kiss me but let go of the headlamp, which was his, and as our lips met we heard it crack against the wall. We were both embarrassed. Something was snatched back. I started to say sorry, but then wished I hadn’t drawn attention to it. He turned as he said he’d see me in a bit. I felt something sad turn over in me.
I was running with bluetooth headphones in. It was the first time I had done the run in daylight and now I could see the hills ahead of me towards Doolin Pier and rising slightly as the road veered south towards to Cliffs of Moher.
I listened to my music and ran. There was the Rainbow Hostel, and McGann’s where we had eaten on three of the seven nights we had spent there. And down towards Fitzpatrick’s on the left and beyond, the Aran Island Gift Shop and then down towards the bridge on the right. It took about 12 minutes to get the bridge.
The morning was overcast, the road was damp with drizzle overnight. Lights were still on in houses and there was a smell of burning turf in the air. There was a Bus Eirann coach parked up in a layby opposite O’Connors Pub, it must have parked up the night before. The metal on the back of it as I approached looked cold and wet. O’Connors was the last in a line of buildings on one side once you cross the bridge to head down towards Doolin Pier. The buildings are painted pink and light blue and white. But this morning, with the dampness in the air and the grey white clouds hanging everywhere, the sulphuric yellow of the streetlamp and the big cold coach opposite, I felt locked out of the inner life of these quaint little buildings.
There was somewhere warm and bright inside, where the sky and the damp and coldness of the morning were seen from a window, if they were even seen at all. And I was not there. I was here, imagining where the warmth was, and the colours of the buildings just looked drab and cold like the bus. I ran past them and focussed on the road ahead pushing the sense of uncurling loneliness out of my skin. There was a pitch a putt now to my left. Beyond it, the horizon was blocked out on one side by a chunk of land jutting out - the beginning of the Cliffs.
I decided to run to the end of the pitch and putt, which would mean I would run for 5km. I wasn’t tired but I needed to shower and finish packing when I got back.
I turned around. I could see O’Connors again.
Suddenly, a flock of birds appeared in the sky. There, above the damp sweeps of tightly cut grass in the pitch and putt. In a second, this black chaos of things, flying in the wind, in front of the sky which now appeared to be silently growling above all the green golf order – above the round bunkers and the little red flags. There must have been a hundred of them - lifted on a huge gust, wings relentlessly thrusting up and down. They swung raucously from my right to my left, and back again. Their strangely choreographed abandonment almost burst my heart. I ran faster, and tried to jump up, and I was with them for a moment. Thrusting my body into the day, all charged, swing, swing, across the wind, the big shape of the flock moving perfectly with my pace in those seconds, and I ran faster and faster as I felt my position with them slipping. The clouds folded and unfolded, there were so many birds flying up there, with the sea beyond them, in the wind. I pumped my arms up and down, unaware now of the pavement under my feet, and the rain on my pink thighs, no sense of the life inside the windows, or the cold, wet metal of the bus, completely overtaken by one thing, ‘I am here’. I don’t know where there was, except it was to run with the birds. It was the feeling in the sting of Johnny's slap, in the waver before I made a step up a rock face, in the London sky on a November night, it is beautiful and dark, and disappears the moment you try and grasp it. Unownable. A perfect passing.