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Her legs were caged by tight blue denim, giving a second skin that ended with dirty white trainers. Nike, I think. She bumped into me by the bus shelter; the wide blue eyes not looking where they were going and the mind predisposed to avoid any chance of contact with the world.

She hadn’t seen me – and never normally would, I don’t suppose – until her stride lost its purpose and we collided, flustered, and looked each other up and down. Just two neatly trained steps back before carrying on, an ambiguous snort giving me a possible apology or passing blame downwards, to me, one of the many insufferables in her otherwise perfect world.

She walked fast, not quite running, but clearly with some urgency and importance. Big strides. Her body rose up and down, like a horse on a fairground carousel. Her arms swung quickly, whips to her movement as she charged down the street.

And then the water.

The white trainers just missed the first jump, the puddle in front of the post office, and then she was out of sight, hidden by the other runners who were less clear about their course. I was surprised she could walk that fast in those jeans, especially in this rain, and wondered if her trousers were the reason for her face wearing that look of such grim determination.

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