Jordan looks back at me from the edge of the bed, where she's sitting, half-naked.
What you have to understand, she says, is that when you exercise every day, say, by running two or three miles, your whole world view changes. You spend all day pumped up on adrenaline or whatever. Everything is black and white. There is no thinking, just acting, as if you had an artificial warzone in your head. Making choices becomes easy. You might be wrong, but you don't care. You should try it.
Please, I say, I don't want to talk politics.
Jordan knows what she's talking about. She has been running two miles a day every day for the past four months. She still smokes half a pack a day, but that doesn't seem to affect her. Me, I run after the bus for half a block and my body is already declaring a state of emergency.
She lights up a cigarette, and offers one to me.
Tobacco seriously damages health, I say.
Yeah, well, she says, Life is a terminal disease, but babies don't come with government warnings. Then she says, Do you want this? and she nods at a cigarette in her hand.
Sure, I say.
I rise a bit, enough so my hand can reach hers, and grab the cigarette, then fall back on the bed.
This is about three weeks ago, in my apartment, the last night we were together. She was leaving on a trip, didn't want to say where. She didn't leave a phone number. I'll call, she said. She didn't.
But that's okay. As a way of dumping me, it seemed almost effortless. No fighting. No arguments. Also, since she didn't actually dump me, she could come back. I don't know what I feel, but I'm not sad. She knew what she was doing, whatever it was. I could say I'm so calm about it because I trust her, but it could also be denial. You never know.
The reason I'm thinking about this is, I've been chasing Eddie through the entire building for the last hour. I went back to the office after the basement nearly killed me, and there he was, rummaging through the contents of my cubicle. When he saw me, he started walking away, discreetly. I followed. Eddie and me playing this game of cat and mouse through the office. We must have looked like idiots.
I am behind him, trying to walk fast without attracting attention, and the distance between us is enough that I can't really call out for him.
I walk faster. He looks back, and sees me gaining on him. Then he walks faster.
I walk even faster.
And so on.
We never break into a run though, because when we get to the lobby he manages to get into the elevator that is leaving, and that's the last I see of him.
And so the chase began. Elevators, stairs, floors, more elevators, more stairs. It's as if I was chasing a ghost, something that could move through walls, or as if he knew where I'd be next so he managed to avoid being there. Everywhere I went I asked if they'd seen him, and the answer was always something like Yeah, sure. He was just here a second ago...
I am past the point of exhaustion, my legs hurt, even my shoulders hurt. My shirt is sticking to my armpits.
So that last conversation came back to me, and now I see what she meant. Before, I wanted to find Eddie to reason with him. I was angry, but it was anger full of ambiguity, of trying to understand his position, of trying to make him understand mine, etcetera. Right now, I don't even want to talk to Eddie. I just want to find him, then throw him out the window. If someone told me he'd done it already, all by himself, I'd be happy. Problem solved. Normally I am not like this.
I guess it must be the exercise.