Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Born to Run
I'm writing the following short story for Thursday Tales. The image above is inspired by Londonladiie.
The thrill of spring tantalized Drew’s nostrils. He ran his fingers through the fresh, cut grass. He had that jittery, butterfly feeling down in his belly, which made him laugh. It was the first game of the season.
He raised his starch, white uniform over his head. He took pride in the team logo and the large C for captain pressed against his heart.
He remembered when his head hung low and tears stung his eyes. The taste of blood and mud still lingered in his mouth. He was inconsolable after the match.
Drew had shut everyone out. He couldn’t look his girlfriend in the eyes. He had distanced himself from his family. Life became one dark, cruel hole that consumed him.
One evening, an old friend stopped by for a visit. He too was shaken, distraught, and filled with grief.
“My boy…my boy’s been in an accident,” he sobbed. “The doctors say he may never walk again.”
“That’s awful,” Drew sighed. The news weighed down on him heavily.
“They’re telling me you’re going to quit soccer,” his friend spoke solemnly. “Is it true?”
“God knows I’ve been in pain. I just keep running over that play over and over again. Look at me Joe,” Drew shouted. He scratched his grizzly beard and his uncombed hair. “I barely move from this chair. I don’t take phone calls. I’m a mess.”
“Yea, I can see that,” Joe nodded. “Why did you let me come over?”
“I knew you’d just sit there and listen,” Drew answered. “I don’t need any lectures or pep talk.”
“I can’t talk you out of quitting. But I’d like to ask a favor of you.”
“Anything Joe. What is it?” Drew felt himself sobering up and taking in life again.
“Play for my boy, Drew. With the accident, the doctors don’t think…” and his voice trailed off. Drew filled in the silence.
“I’ll play for him,” he resolved. “I’ll be his legs on the field.”
Joe’s son gave Drew a renewed sense of purpose. He carried the boy in his heart with every drill and practice. He felt the ice in his heart melt as winter turned to spring.
On game day, Drew trotted onto the field and gazed up at the row of spectators. He caught Joe’s eye and spotted his son beside him. Drew welled up with pride as he gathered in a huddle with his teammates. The breeze grazed his chin. As he sprinted, he felt his leg muscles pump blood. He wasn’t running alone. The world felt right again.