Runner by Clive Collins

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Single runner running in rainShe woke to see him standing at the window.

“What are you doing?” she said.

“Nothing. Watching the street.”

“People will see you.”

“Go on with you. They will not.”

“I dreamed rain,” she said, sitting up in the bed.

“It’s raining outside. Chucking it down. Must have got into your dream.”

“Come back to bed,” she said, turning down the covers.

“There’s nobody out,” he said. “Just some chap running like hell.”

“Didn’t want to get wet probably. Bit like you.”

“Like me?”

“The thing you have about getting your head wet always giving you a cold.”

“Which it does,” he said. “But this guy had an umbrella. I got a picture of him.”

“You did not? You’ve been standing there in the window stark naked taking photographs? Are you mad?”

“It’s a good photograph. Do you want to see?”

“Alan,” she said.


“Come back to bed.”

“We’ve been in bed all day, Woman. Is there no satisfying you?”

“Is that an official complaint, because if it is –”

“If it is?”

“I’ll go out and look for the fellow with the umbrella!” In the dull light of the window, she watched his face fold itself into a smile.

“But, come back, will you? We’ll never be together like this again.”


“Yes, really. This time tomorrow we’ll be an old married couple and –“

“The thrill will be gone.”

“No. Yes, in a way.”

He put down the camera and crossed the room.

* * *

In the grey light of late afternoon, he dressed, took his camera and left. The woman he was to have married slept on, dreaming perhaps of the still falling rain. Out in the street, he put up his umbrella and started to run.

clive collins in hatBorn to Irish parents in Leicester, England, Clive Collins has spent the greater part of his life working as a teacher in Ireland, Sierra Leone, and Japan. He is the author of two novels, The Foreign Husband (Marion Boyars) and Sachiko’s Wedding (Marion Boyars/Penguin Books).  Misunderstandings, a collection of short stories, was joint-winner of the Macmillan Silver PEN Award in 1994. His short fiction has appeared in magazines and has featured on BBC radio.  Most recently, he was a short-listed finalist in the 2009 Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction.



  1 comment for “Runner by Clive Collins

  1. It’s almost like a haiku in it’s brevity and impact. What beautiful imagery. The ending hit me about a minute after I’d finished reading. Gasp!

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