One Reply to “11.4.2013 Journal Prompt”

  1. Once on the running track, his legs kicking the air and his arms punching ghosts, he lost himself. And the faster he ran, the further behind him were his troubles. There was just the quick and steady pulse in his thoughts and his focus on pushing forwards, one fleet-foot step at a time, and he felt suddenly light and suddenly free.

    A little longer each day and a little further, and no nearer the limit of what he could do, like a machine that does not count the miles and the wheels keep turning. And he came back from those runs and everything was changed and his life could be briefly easy then and he imagined he felt his father patting his shoulder and saying, in a burr-saw whisper, that he’d done good.

    And so it came to him one day. And he did not tell Sheree, who never believed all his time away from her was spent just running, had invented an affair he was having with Milly in her lace slip and no pants and her lips painted red as the crushed bodies of the cochineal; or his mother with her scold words and her hard slapping hand and her ‘if only your father was here to see you now, my boy’; or Matty who did not start his day without a sharp broken-glass word against running, and a word for taking things slow and without a sweat, and Matty laughed at the shorts that he wore and his legs like sticks and his arms like pistons pumping.

    And so in the end he told no one. He just left the running track, at the farthest reach, not breaking his stride, and he hit the road. There was no plan and there never was. He just ran. Leaving behind everything he had been and everything he would be if he stayed. Leaving Sheree and his mother and Matty. And leaving behind Milly though the smell of her was on his fingers. And he ran.

    There were cars that slowed and their windows wound down and women in bottle-blonde hair and their tits in too-small bras and they asked if he needed a lift someplace, and they called him sugar and honey, and he smiled and shook his head and his breathless words said he was just running, and thank you all the same, he said.

    And trucks sounded their trumpet-blast horns as they passed and their outsize wheels burning rubber; and kids kept pace with him for a short way and then they cheered and waved him on; and a dog once, and its bark had no bite and its tail was up, and it, too, ran a small way with him.

    And he laughed and his legs kicked and his arms punched. And there was no way of knowing if he was chasing or being chased. And he ran through the morning and through the day, and he ran after the moon and the turning stars, and he when at last he stopped it was to drink and to eat and to sleep, before getting up and starting again, putting a greater and greater distance between who he had been and who he could now be.

    And the voice of his his father urging him on, and his grandfather, too. And he was running for them all and carrying them away with him, away from the place that had been no place at all.

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