Tyner Roycroft

Trying to Keep Pace.

Walks in Meyer's Park

He feels uneasy as he tries to keep stride with her – the woman who has his heart, but whom he’s only just come to know. He takes a few steps, then a few more. The more he tries to keep up, the more his pace falters. His heart races, rather than his legs, and his mind trips and stutters with the thoughts he's been trying so hard to avoid.

He wasn't much for waking this early before he'd met her, though a good jog on a brisk day had long been among his favorite ways to pass the time, and still is -- he supposes. It’s not been the pace of their morning jogs that’s caused his ill feeing, but instead the pace at which they’d become so close with one another. It seemed to him that each day they were more and more comfortable with each other, growing together not only as a couple, but as tight and fast friends. Each week flew by with greater and greater speed, marked only by his once-weekly realization that things had changed between them, and so time had passed. He'd often impressed others with his moral and mental aptitude, but a keen sense of awareness he'd never found to be one of his gifts.

Rushing into something like this – rushing into anything, really – has never been Jay’s way of doing things. For as long as he can remember, or at least as long as he can recollect while keeping no more than three strides behind, Jay has kept an even head on his shoulders. In trying times, it has been his tendency to weigh out his choices that has been the defining factor of whatever success he has today.

Thinking back, he recalls a not-so-distant version of himself – one from just a few years ago – and puts his mind back to that time. When he’d left school to follow his passion, and found his sophomore year suitemates incorporating themselves, it was his willingness to entertain and explore all reasonable directions for himself that set him on a steady path. He’d always felt that this would be a foundational part of himself, and finding that it is so fickle a part that it can be toppled by the first beautiful woman he’d loved in so very long...

“Wait up!” Jay shouts after Lucy.

She says something in response but the wind steals the words before he’s heard them.

“I just need a moment to catch my breath, that’s all.” A gentle lie. It wasn’t so much that he had fallen behind from a lack of stamina, as it was that he’d been terribly distracted by his own mental ramblings.

Lucy had already stopped before the words had left his mouth, making his explanation seem all the more reasonable to her. She had probably indicated her agreeing to stop for a moment, but of course he hadn’t heard her.

He didn’t mind the white lie. As close as they’d become – and as quickly as six weeks had turned into six months – Jay was not comfortable making his reservations known. He’d made peace with the idea that, if he were going to commit himself to this relationship without his usual cautionary rationale, he’d at least give himself the opportunity to process his doubts on his own time – and with a clear and even head.