I wrote this story last summer and I thought of this story while I was running. Is that called inspiration? Anyway, I have been meaning to publish this story somewhere because I think it’s one of the better stories I have written by myself. Then I realize, “Why not publish my story on the www? on my website?.” So, here’s the story. It’s about a young guy who went out for a run.
At the far side of the wall, the green LED on the alarm clock showed that it was a quarter to nine o’clock, well, 8:46 pm to be exact. He never really liked that alarm clock because for one, the LED was a tad too bright and two, the green color made him feel as if he’d been abducted in an alien spaceship. But he didn’t really have a choice when he first bought the alarm clock because it was a special kind of alarm that vibrated the bed like a motel bed in Las Vegas, so he could get out of the bed more convincingly. When he saw what time it was, he knew it had already begun to become late…
He’d promise himself that he would do his daily run, not exactly daily but about four times a week and today would be his third of the week. He glanced outside the windows, just behind the alarm clock and he could see the sun separating itself from the blue sky into the horizon. He wondered if he should postpone the run till tomorrow and the darkness crept to remind him that not one but two vehicles had come close to him in the past week and he had to retreat to the gravels on the side to avoid the contact. It wasn’t even dark as it was in a broad daylight, he thought to himself. While he was thinking that, one of his legs was already into the running shorts. He went on to put his Asics and he was still thinking if he should run. A devil on his shoulder told him that he should run so he could burn off the Whopper burger he’d ate for lunch. He could feel his stomach quenched when he thought about that but he told the devil that it’s not really his fault because he forgot to bring his own lunch and he only had three dollars in his pocket and the Whopper was the only available sandwich that both fit his budget and satisfied his hunger as he didn’t even eat breakfast the following morning. He had started a diet a few weeks ago after he noticed the flab hidden in his lower tummy. He tied the last strings on his shoes and felt motivated that he needed to slave off some calories. He stepped out of the front door and tested the humidity to see if he needed a tank top first. He could see the clouds piling up together and it told him that it’d be a bit of a breeze, so he went back into the house and put on his tank top.
There were two routes that he had mapped for himself and he disliked one-way routes in which he would have to turn around and run the same path back. Those two routes were like two blocks that if you put them together, they would be like a rectangle sharing one same street in the middle. One square was a little bigger than the other square, by about a mile. However, the other square had a more steep elevation and would give him a good stability workout whereas the first square has a smooth elevation, testing his endurance. As late as it already was, he decided to take the stability route and his average time was roughly twenty minutes. That should give him an adequate time before it becomes too dark.
When he first hit the street with strides, he felt like he was straddling through the mud water. “Must be the whopper I ate.” he said. As he had been running for some time now, he knows that that feeling would fade away, like a car needs a warm-up first. He got through the first leg of the block rather slow and he told himself that he’d increase his pace when he turned the corner. The corner somehow felt farther than usual but he stayed with it and finally arrived at the corner. The street was going downhill, so he could start a faster pace with longer strides. He imagined he was like a Kenyan running with incredibly long strides and galloped like a deer. However, he couldn’t hold that pace long enough when he arrived at the bottom of the hill and had to shorten his strides as he worked on his way up the hill. He could feel himself panting and had broken up a sweat. At the top of the hill, he could see the stoplights, which showed passing cars. He knows he had to be careful when he got there because that’s where he almost got hit by cars.
The stoplight turned green just before he reached there. “Perfect.” he thought. So he didn’t have to stop his run and look out for any passing cars. He peeked over his left shoulder and his eyes said it was all clear, he moved to the left lane and proceed to turn the corner again. The street changed into two lanes with rock gravels on both sides. He didn’t like running on the rocks because it somehow felt slippery and he had to be more careful, which changed his strides. He’d try to stay on the white line as long as he could. His shoes were pouncing onto the white line, and already, several cars were coming at him. He remained on the line, seeing if cars would move a little to let him pass. He could see the first car starting to move away from him and the second car followed the car but the third car didn’t move at all. He jumped to the gravel just before the third car passed him. He tried to look around and see who’s the driver. It was a teenage girl yapping on her cellphone, apparently not even seeing him at all. He shook his head and continued with his run.
The outside suddenly looked much darker after three cars went past him and the sun had already dipped below the horizons and he now only could see the sun’s rays, painting the blue sky orange. Meanwhile, he was relieved to see that he could not see any headlights in the far sight, so that means he could keep running on the white line.
Several minutes later, as the corner came approaching, so was a car. But the headlights looked almost too big for a car. He was right; it wasn’t a car’s headlights—-it was a semi-truck roaring along. He knew…that he would have to step off the line and tiptoeing on the rocks far from the road. His face was illuminated with bright white lights and he used his arms to cover his eyes from the semi-truck’s big headlights. The truck swooshed past him and he could feel himself spinning but that was just the air effect circling him. He closed and rubbed his eyes from the dust. He tried to turn around and catch the driver’s face but it was too high for him to see over the windows. It didn’t really matter because he kind of already imagined that it was an overweight, unshaven man with a cigar, wearing a cowboy hat, and yet worse, it wasn’t even his fault that he didn’t see him because two big fat dices were hanging from the mirror, blocking his marginal view. Finally, the air was back to a calm quiet air, like he was sitting back at the front porch. He wished he was sitting there instead of running like he was right now. His tanktops were drenched with sweat and he wished he didn’t put on his tanktop in the first place. Now, he saw the corner coming and he gladly turned.
This time, it was going uphill and he was really panting now. He wished he hadn’t eaten that whopper; he wished he didn’t run at all. He would give anything right now to be back at the house and be watching sportscenter from his bed. “Stop it, you have started running and you are more than halfway to the finish now.” his mentality told him. “You’ve come this far; finish your run.” He willed himself to keep running, not even realizing that his strides were now reduced to stutter-steps.
In spite of everything, with the stupid teenage girl, the semi-truck driver, and that darned uphill, he was glad to be back on the street and his shoes by the white lines. Now running on the third leg of the block, he tried to stay near the curbs so that the pole lights would illuminate him below. He kept running and he started to realize that he had been running at a slow pace but he needed to be patient if he wanted to finish the run without stopping. He reached the top and that would be the last uphill he had to run. He took a big breath and started to run downhill. His strides becoming longer and longer, like a Kenyan again he imagined during his first leg of the run. There weren’t as many as pole lights on that fourth leg of the block, unlike the previous leg he ran on. He was focused on his fast pace now and his sole concentration was to finish the run strongly. Little did he know, a car had turned the same corner he recently turned and was rolling on the same street as he was. With the heart pumping hard, sweats dripping like there was a rain, he did not see the car coming, so was the car.
The person driving the car was an old lady who decided she wanted to see his husband at his grave. The street was curving and they were coming up on a short bridge over the creek. By the time when the old lady’s headlights saw him, the old lady saw him too and tried her best to steer the car but it was all too late. The physical corner of the 1988 Buick had already caught him and sent his body falling toward the white line on the street. He had no idea what had hit him and he laid flatly on the bridge with his arms open and you could already tell, he looked like Jesus Christ on the cross. The sweats that were dripping like a loose faucet had slowed down to like a tear on Mary’s face. But his heart was still beating, though not as fast as it was a moment ago. His body began to stir and then he opened his eyes. He noticed that the grounds were not under his feet but right under his cheek.
“What in the heavens did just happen to me?” he thought. He managed to get himself up and back on his feet. He checked his body for any wounds or injury but there was none. He had expected something painful would pop out somewhere on his body like a warning signal would flash in the car instrument panel but there wasn’t any signals. He remembered he was running, so he tried to run again. He started slow, testing his body again, but nothing seemed out of place. Now, he could see one more corner, so he ran straight to the corner. When he got there at the corner, he stoop down and panting. Then, he saw an old lady walking in arms with her husband. He thought they looked like nice sweet couple who’s been together for a long time. His attention was turned to this man in robe.
“Welcome, you made it.” He said.