A little boy holding hands with his mother yelped like a dog as they stopped dead in their tracks.
I picked myself up off of the sidewalk and touched my hand to my face. I was bleeding somewhere on my right cheek and I could taste a little bit of blood in my mouth. My iPhone 7 had received the brunt of the fall. It was cracked in a million different places and Bun-B’s voice could no longer be heard reverberating through my headphones.
The mother, who looked to be in her mid-40s and was almost definitely at the end of her rung with the boy touched my arm gently and said, “We saw you fall. Are you okay?”
“Yeah, I’m fine, thanks. My apartment isn’t far from here I’ll be fine.”
I didn’t see the hole in the sidewalk until it was too late. It was almost like my size 11 sneaker was made to specifically fit into said hole which was just a mile or so away from my apartment. I should have been more aware of my surroundings. I should have been periodically looking down at the concrete in front of me.
I shouldn’t have been so wrapped up in the goddamn music. “International Players Anthem” by UGK and OutKast was blaring through my headphones, it was fifty degrees outside, and to put it in the simplest terms I can think of, I was in the zone (which is also commonly referred to as I.T.Z.). I think we all know what it means to be I.T.Z. when you’re on a run. Your speed picks up, your arms moving in unison with your legs as you mouth the words to a song you’ve no doubt heard hundreds of times before. In those moments, when you’re running uninhibited it feels like nothing can stop you. For the most part that’s a true statement. Usually when you’re I.T.Z. the worst thing that might happen to you is you’ll hit a busy intersection and have to jog in place for a few seconds. The thought of a grisly encounter with a hole in the sidewalk doesn’t even cross your mind.
I had about a half of a mile left to go on a mapped out three-mile run and I was hitting on all cylinders. I simply didn’t see the hole in the ground until it was too late. The hole -or as I’ll refer to it from here on out, The Duda Killer – must have been made by a construction worker and then left by accident during a routine repaving or something. It was no larger than one foot in length and width. My Nike got caught, and I went flying. I scraped my right knee up as well as my right elbow, and I have a wicked burn from the sidewalk on my right cheek which is still bleeding as I type this. That this would happen just 12 hours before I have a date with a girl who seems to be pretty interested in me (despite the fact that she has a boyfriend) is problematic, to say the least.
This would only happen to me. No one else has bad luck like this. And the biggest question I have in front of me is whether or not I cancel the date. I look like I just went twelve rounds with, well, a sidewalk, and I don’t think any amount of Neosporin is going to help me out with just under a half a day until I have to sit across from this girl and re-tell this story.
Is this the universe telling me I shouldn’t be the homewrecker that I thought I was going to be? Or do I say fuck the universe, my bloody face, and that stupid sidewalk and go eat sushi with Britanny? I’m leaning towards the latter. Maybe this pseudo-Indian burn (which is sure to begin scabbing over soon) and the cement that caused it will be a funny story for the grandchildren one day. Maybe Brittany really is using me for a free meal. I don’t know the answers to any of those questions, but I do know for a fact that canceling a date because of few scratches on my face would just be boring. .