Greg has been training for the marathon since before Christmas. He knows it’s been tough on Vanessa – they haven’t been on many weekends away because of his long runs, and the training takes up most of his evenings, too. He hates to think of her at home by herself, passing her evenings painting her nails and watching TV. He’d rather be curled up next to her, rubbing her feet, rather than putting plasters on his own, as he’s mostly been doing recently, but he loves her for encouraging him to take this challenge on.
The day before the race, she comes with him to pick up his race number. Someone takes a nice photo of them together, and he makes it the background on his phone – a reminder of the two things he’s proudest of.
On the morning itself, as she kisses him goodbye, she promises, ‘I’ll be there, cheering you on. I’ll try and move round the course a bit too, so I get to see you more than once. Make sure you wave!’
The knowledge that she’s watching spurs him on. The thought that she believes in him, that she knows he can do it. The love for her courses through his body, makes him run faster, puts him on track for a personal best. His feet are sore, his nipples are chafing, and he can’t see her in the crowd, but it doesn’t matter. He knows she’s watching somewhere.
He’s not wrong. She is watching somewhere. She’s watching – kind of – on a TV in someone else’s living room. A TV that’s switched to the marathon by chance. A TV that’s turned on mainly so her lover’s housemate can’t hear her frantic gasps as her lover licks her cunt for all he’s worth.