My everlasting race has resumed

Lynlee Derrick

More stories from Lynlee Derrick

Emma Zawacki
March 15, 2021
Linus Kaechele
February 17, 2021
My+everlasting+race+has+resumed

Pain seizes my foot; every step, carrying the weight of years of worry, signals my nerves, setting my body on fire.

Fire.

Fire is what I feel. Heat flushes my cheeks like an apple just underneath my supple, sweating skin. The flames of pain roar in my legs, still unaccustomed to this race.

Though the robin resting in her crafted nest in the elm up high would beg to differ.

The only person running is me; my feet ravage the dirt path beneath in solidarity. Snaps, following each step, of spiteful sticks sonorously splintering from my weight fill the clement, balmy night.

Sweats pools at my temples—my face still flushed—as I force my legs forwards. Screaming out, cramps voice my body’s dismay of my mind’s singular goal: running.

My goal keeps me going, keeps me breathing, keeps me thinking; it inspires me to fight the beast of flames clambering up to my thighs. A cruel concoction brews as the flames of affliction coalesce with the furious cramps.

I have forgotten that it’s compulsory to run.”

Stewing with every step, the concoction overwhelms my legs, slowing me down.  

I halt, giving into my body’s ineluctable enervation. Giving up just a second of this race will not affect me, right?

I need the break; my body demands it. So as I kneel down, shifting the weight—all the worry and pain—of my feet, I breathe. Deep gasps for air that my lungs were missing mere moments before replacing the snaps.

A towering wave of oxygen engulfs my lungs as my body finally can stop. I can stop worrying, running, struggling for once.

I relish this moment; a feeling of contentment—one I was convinced I’d never feel again—rushes to my brain, banishing fear. It has been years, verging on a decade, since I have felt this youthful relief. Gentle wind soothes my muscles as I remain crouched on the path.

Giving in to the pleasure of relief, my senses lower their defenses, taking off their armor.

And that’s when it strikes.

My ears switch from the now-even breathing to the echoes trampling down the path; lacking any grace, the raucous shouts, seemingly far away, ricochet off the surrounding trees. Realizing what I have done, a chill plummets deep into my bones.

I have forgotten that it’s compulsory to run.

New energy, inspired by alarm, launches me to my feet. The fire of pain crackles once again, but my mind has narrowed back to the original goal: getting away.

This race is not one I can stop. I can’t slow down, breathe, or think. I have one goal, and I have to stick to it.

So my body heaves into the night sky, sweat beginning to produce once again, as everything I’m running from—the inevitable—begins to tail me as I hopelessly endeavor to get back on the proper path.