Wait. Wait in silence. Wait in anticipation. Allow the adrenaline to course throughout your body. Wait for that piercing shot. The one that rings out like the shot heard ’round the world. There is no other sound like it. Wait for it. And then burst. With speed. With a focused mind. And eyes straight ahead. Passing the crowd gathered on both sides.
Run. Like there’s no tomorrow. Run as if death were nipping at your heels. And you’re giving your all to outlast its will. Run. Run like you’ve never run before. One foot in front of the other. In long strides. Focus only on your breathing. Inhale. Exhale. Let your lungs set the pace for your long strides. Don’t pay attention to the thumping of others behind you. Just keep running.
A dream. In and out of consciousness. Breathing as if running the race all over again and he was inhaling, exhaling, steadily, these fifty-two years later. Heart pumping, sweat beading on his forehead. Just one more mile. And then he tripped. His feet tangled up in themselves. He was stumbling. Now falling. Forever, it seemed. Like a skydiver whose parachute will not open, he knew crashing to the ground was inevitable, yet seemingly not possible at the same time. Was this reality, what really happened so long ago? Finally. His head hit the pavement.
Breathing relaxed. He exhaled once more. His body, not in the crumpled heap from the race so long ago. Rather straight. Comfortable. Yet lifeless. His bedroom curtains were open. He’d always liked open curtains. They were inviting. Begging for anyone in that particular room to look outside. To let nature act in its own alluring way. Begging for someone, anyone, to go running. To train. For a half-marathon. On a sunny day.