(With envy and admiration from Curt Cloninger)

Mike ran today, with Jesus in the lead. Jesus stayed always a few feet ahead, teasing Mike with the distance. That was fine. Mike wasn't desperate to catch him; just enjoying seeing Jesus run, and realizing, that this time, Jesus would not lose him. As Jesus topped a hill he slowed and Mike was by his side. Jesus was breathing easy. Mike, a little harder. Jesus tapped Mike's chest and smiled.

"You've found your sea legs. You're breathing easy."

"Not as easy as you," Mike said.

Jesus laughed. "I've had more practice here."

They sat on a rock, saying nothing, breathing joy. Then Jesus pointed. "You see that?"

Mike saw nothing. "Farther to your right," Jesus pointed. "There. Do you know what that is?"

"Vaguely." A memory flitted across Mike's mind, but so softly, he couldn't be sure it wasn't a dream. He saw what looked to be a mangled truck.

Jesus said plainly, with no flicker of remorse or tragedy, "You lay there once. Remember?"

A curious smile crept into Mike's eyes, at the absurd thought of that truck holding him. "I think I remember. But was it today or forever ago? I can't seem to recall."

"No matter," Jesus said, as he stood and stretched his legs, anxious to run. "I'll race you to the house. There's a little party on. Are you game?"

"You know it all," said Mike, teasing Jesus, as he always did. But, this time … for the first time, face to face. "You know I've always been game."

Then he stood too, and breathed deeper than he ever remembered. "I bet I catch you on this downhill."

"Don't hold your breath," said Jesus, laughing, as he sprinted ahead of Mike down the hill.