Chapter Five.

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When I step outside of my apartment, my neighbor is carrying her three-month old baby in one arm and attempting to fold up a stroller with the other. I stop in front of her and point to the stroller. 

"May I?" I ask her. 

She nods and lifts the chubby little baby further up her hip. I press a button on the side and collapse it, folding the legs down. My neighbor, Rosa, I believe her name is, sighs in relief and thanks me. I tell her to have a good day and make my way to the elevator down the hall. 

My head hurts a little, but not enough to keep me from running. I have to have hobbies, otherwise I'm convinced I'll become a part of my television. Literally. The demon fighting half-angel teens I watch on Tuesday's will capture me or I'll turn into one of those people who can't make plans because "my show is on"

The air outside is crisp and I can actually smell fall in the air over the trash bags lining the sidewalks. Fall has always been my favorite season since I was a kid. I loved waiting for the seasons to change, watching the leaves to go from luscious greens and yellow to crispy brown and burnt orange.

Late summer is football season, which leads to hockey season in October, and hockey season leads to my life being interesting for a little while. Since I was a kid I've admired the underrated season between summer and winter. I've always loved waiting for sports seasons to start, raking the leaves with my mom, and jumping into big messy piles of loose leaves and then stuffing them into plastic bags with pumpkin faces printed on them.

At my house on Clarewood, our small yard was always full of leaves because of the two massive birch trees in the front yard. Fall in Michigan never lasted long enough for my liking. By the third football game, the gloves and coats came out full force. Ice began to cover the windshields of cars and the streets grow quieter at night. 

I've always loved the cold weather. Unlike most people, I thrive in it. For me the cold means sports, holidays, and a crap load of sweets in piles on the kitchen counter. Unlike me, Dakota always hated the cold. The way her nose would turn red and her curly hair would dry out, drove her insane. To me, she always looked cute, wrapped up in layers of sweaters and I swear to you, the girl wore mittens in September. 

As in mittens, mittens. And I loved them. 

The best park to run the track in Brooklyn happens to be the furthest from my apartment. McCarren Park is in  Greenpoint, the hippest part of Brooklyn. Full beards and lumberjack flannels come out in troves in this part of the city. They bring their black-framed glasses and tiny little restaurants with dim lighting and small plates of heaven. 

I don't quite understand why men in their twenties want to dress like men in their seventies, but the food that surrounds the cool kids here is well worth staring into the black framed glasses of a young man sporting a tycoon inspired mustache. The walk to my favorite park is about twenty minutes from my place, so I usually run there, then run for thirty minutes, and cool down during the walk home.

Less than one minute into running, my knee begins to ache from my fall last night. It's still funny to me, but slightly less now that I have to run on a bruised leg. Thirty seconds later, the pain is shooting from muscle to muscle. 

I feel every step. 

Forget this. I can't run today. I'm off work today and I don't want to sit in the house on my first Saturday off since I started working there months ago. Tessa has to work tonight. I saw it written on her little planner board she has hanging on the fridge. I pull my phone out and decide to call my mom. She's due any day and I can feel her nerves from here. She'll be the best mom my little sister could be blessed with, whether my worrisome mother believes that or not.

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