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A Road Awakening This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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I open my eyes slowly to branches rustling against my windowsill. Outside, it’s still dark. My mind is awake, but my body wants to remain beneath the covers. Just a few more minutes, it begs. Okay, I agree, rolling over, and pulling the blanket around me. But as I snuggle in, I catch a glimpse of them sitting in the corner. They call to me, earnestly, and at first, my aching body resists. But then I picture it in my mind, and suddenly, my fatigue is replaced by excitement, energy. Yes, I say, this is one of those mornings.

I slide out of bed and tiptoe over. You win again, I say, admitting defeat. I pull on clothes, socks, and them. As I tie the laces, my dog remains collapsed on my bed, not moving, except for his eyelids, which open slightly. He looks over, resenting my disrupting his morning sleep. I stroke his fur and whisper, “Shhh, I’ll be back soon. Don’t tell anyone.” He moseys over to my pillow, still warm from my body, and snuggles in. He is the only one who knows my secret. I open the front door slowly, and then I turn to face the world. My journey awaits.

I feel excitement and anticipation. It starts from my fingertips and travels through my veins, down through my body, reaching my toes. Eventually my feet are burning with desire. And so I begin.

The road is quiet, not a passerby in sight. I take a deep breath, soaking in my peaceful surroundings. The road is my audience, stretching for miles, cheering me to continue. And I feel it all: the chilly breeze against my cheeks, and the wet dew that begins to soak my shoes, cooling me. I absorb every sacred moment with pleasure. I notice that it grows a bit lighter, but still the sun hides behind the trees, waiting; I have time.

I listen to the harmony of my breath, my heart, and the wind in the trees, as they all string together creating a symphony. And the constant beat, as they hit the pavement. Thump, thump, thump …

These mornings are my favorite. I love to be up early, while others sleep: the sacred few hours the world is tranquil, when I can take a break from the bustle of the day.

Eagerly, I press on, my heart quickening, my breath shortening. I feel my mind begin to clear and my stress melt as my thoughts release into the clean air that has had its rest during the night. And they listen, their firm grasp encasing my feet. Always faithful, always understanding, their repetitious sound gives me stability and confidence as I vent my troubles and worries to them. Possibility lures me on, surrounding me with its power. I have the whole day ahead of me, filled with new hopes, new experiences. I challenge myself. Can I do one more mile? Can I accomplish all I want today?

I advance toward new trails, tackling each course with all the strength I can muster. I can do this, I think. I can do anything. I feel as though I’m flying as I pass the market, my old house, the 7/11. Lights begin to come on inside stores; cars appear in parking lots. Slowly, the rest of the world awakens. I turn toward home.

The sun peeks over the treetops, casting its rays against my heated body. I reach the doorstep and slip inside just in time before my secret is discovered. No one knows my escape, my paradise. This time is mine alone. Time for me to be whomever I want: My only boundary is myself.

Each day I go to school, see friends, do homework, go to track practice. All of these activities are important, but sometimes I long for a vacation from my busy life. I crave the escape that each person needs.

The tranquility of those mornings is irresistible. I have time to be with my greatest critic, my strongest opponent with the most control over me: myself. With ambition to challenge myself, I discover new levels of potential. I can go that one extra mile. And when I’m done and I know I have gone further than I thought possible, a smile spreads across my face, and I feel the joy of accomplishment. I may not be the best runner on my track team or the smartest student at my school, but I have accomplished something unique. I have met my own expectations and personal goals. That, in itself, is enough.

The road stretches for miles, never ending. I can choose any path I want, because I believe I can conquer any hill, any boundary, any struggle. I realize that with this drive to go beyond the expected, with this strength and knowledge, the possibilities are endless.

They, my sneakers, have helped me learn this, ever since that morning I picked them out at the store. I still remember the first time I pulled them on, laced them up, and took my first step. With them, I have discovered ideas, paths, and possibilities. They are my vehicle as I venture along. And every time I put them on, a new adventure awaits. I remain confident, with the knowledge that I can handle anything that comes my way. I am unstoppable.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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This article has 3 comments. Post your own now!

melissa15 said...
Jan. 26, 2010 at 2:37 pm
running seems to be much more than an escape, but a passion
 
Ellie_Michelle said...
Dec. 21, 2009 at 3:08 am
Great opening and ending.
 
Miabia3 said...
Sept. 9, 2008 at 11:28 am
really nice, beautiful description and emotion
 
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