Saturday, July 21, 2007

Parkour Story


Todd slowly drops to the sofa and stares at the TV before him.

Parkour. He’d seen it in films and on TV often and was fascinated. “Urban Running” they call it. He watches the beginning of Casino Royale again and studies the opening scene intently. He notes the style and moves like he has done many times before.

The character in the film bounds through the scenes trying to elude James Bond. He leaps, slides, dives and swings through a complex series of movements. He bolts over tables with his legs before him and strong arms pushing him up and over. He hops and dives through small windows as Bond tries to keep up and catch him.

He’s agile and quick. He moves like a cat.

How hard could that be, Todd thinks. He’s strong. He has grace.

He grabs the remote, switches off the TV and DVD player, and stands tall. He wears his running gear with pride. Top notch and ready for action.

The weather is cool as he jogs towards the school down the street. San Francisco is alive with activity. People move through the streets in cars, on bikes and by foot. The sun shines through the clouds a warm breeze warms him as he speeds up his pace.

He tries a wall hop, leaping towards the wall to his right, catching it with his right foot, and springing off and forward a good seven feet. A classic Parkour move.

Perfect, he thinks with a smile as he runs for the school and up the stairs.

That’s when he sees her. Another jogger on the school grounds. She’s amazing. A ponytail swings behind her head. Broad hips move left and right with each running bound and her body shakes in all the right places.

He grins and moves towards her and the railing of the path she runs on. If he times it right, he will be able to dive over it and onto the railing on the other side – leaping directly over the path before her. Perfect.

He speeds up. It’s all about the timing. He glances over at her and takes in her form again with a sigh, then returns his focus to the railing before him. This will be an awesome way to get introduced. He pictures future dates. Friends they’ll share. The conversations.

“You met jogging?” they’ll ask over wine and cheese and amazing jazz music as the City twinkles out the wind.

She’ll smile at him, then look at the crowd before her and say, “He looked like a gazelle. He jumped OVER the path and onto the railing on the other side like SUPERMAN!”

The crowd will coo and swoon as he holds her tight.


He speeds up again. He’ll need good height. He can do this.

Timing his strides, he plants his foot and leaps forward for the railing.

It looked so easy on TV, you know? Seemed like a matter of strength and timing. All about the timing and power. That’s what he thinks.

His foot almost clears the railing. He thinks he has the height, but…evidently he doesn’t.

His toe hooks up and under the railing and stops his leg, but not his body, which manages to clear the first railing beautifully. It arches up and over and his arms pinwheel out before him and grasp for the rail on the other side.

All about the timing.

If he manages to grab the rail, he might prevent his face from connecting with it. He doesn’t, of course.

His mouth connects first, then his eye follows as his head rolls to the side. His shoulder misses the railing completely, letting his hip take the full hit on the metal.

All about the timing, really.

He crumples before the female jogger in a heap – out cold.

Years later, after the birth of their first child, she tells the story again to all the relatives gathered for Christmas dinner. A combination of laughter and pity fills the room as Todd smiles an embarrassed smile. She goes into great detail making sure she remembers everything.

Todd’s bloody mess of a face. The ambulance ride. Todd mumbling through the gauze trying to ask for her number.

She looks over at him and runs a hand through his hair, remembering out loud how amazing she thought he was – still trying to chat her up after making such an entrance.

Her eyes fill with happy tears as her hand slides down his cheek. “He was like Superman.”

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