I Knew I Should Have Kept Running

Running. That's what I do best. I can hear my shoes scrape against the pavement, feel a rock getting lodged into the treads. My breath is burning my throat. I can feel my muscles stretching, free from the winter's prison chains.

The sun is starting to beat down on my pale, winter skin. Beads of sweat are developing on my forehead. I keep running. The shoes I have on are good for this. They have that new technology that keep my feet cool. I turn the corner, sharp and crisply. Some would assume I'm stupid for the way I turn, think I'll break my ankle. I reach the edge of my yard and slow to a trot. My breath is sounding haggard enough to catch the dog's attention. He stands, and his beady eyes watch me, almost accusing me of not being who I am. The breeze takes a hold of my hair and whips it forward, taking the smell of my sweat and adrenaline with it.

The dog lays back onto his thick hind legs, content knowing that it's me and not an intruder. I walk into the house, letting the door squeal behind me. It alerts the rest of the house to my arrival. I kick off my shoes in the kitchen, leaving the laces tied.

My mother must have had me on her drunken radar, because the moment I walk away from my shoes towards the cabinet for something to eat, she comes stumbling into the room. Her hair looks exactly like mine, wet and extremely messy. I, however, had just gone for a run. Knowing my mother, she probably spilled half of the vodka that she keeps next to her bed while trying to get up. Her eyes are surrounded by black, practically screaming that she went out last night, taking all the money with her. That means I'll be the one to pay the bills, again.

She stumbles towards me and trips over my shoes. At first she looks confused, trying to look for the person who made her trip. When she spots my shoes, it seems to have infuriated her more than when Dad left, yet it's not even close to being the same. My mom lets out a shrill shriek and barrels toward me with fire blazing behind those bloodshot eyes. I knew I shouldn't have come back today. I knew my mom was going to be a nutcase when she woke up. After all, it's the day six months ago that my father walked out on us.

I dart under her sagging, outstretched arms to grab my shoes and run to my room. I'm more thankful for that brass knob on my door than anything else in the world. I lean my back against the door, throw the shoes on the floor, and watch as some of the dust flies into the air. The sunlight only comes in a thin streak through my curtains, as if the only thing that would make it happy in the world would be to shine in my room.

I let my weight drag my back down my door until I'm sitting on the floor. I lean my head back, stretching my neck muscles, while also keeping the tears safely in my eyes. It will show weakness if I let myself care, let anyone see that I'm hurting. I don't even know what to do anymore. I raise my head back up when I no longer feel tears threatening to emerge. The alarm clock on my night stand shines bright in my dark room, telling me its already 12:05. I only have twenty minutes to take a shower and get to work.

It figures that my work clothes would be in the dryer, making me leave my room. I peek my head out the door and look for my mother. I don't hear her breathing or dragging feet so I make a run for it. I reach the dryer without a sound. All the clothes are tangled in mess, meaning my mother took something out of here. It also means that she took some of my clothes.

I struggle through the mess and finally find my uniform. I only have enough time to douse myself in water and wash some of the sweat off, then drive over the speed limit so that I'm not late. I've been late seven times now because of my mother, and the next time it happens I'm going to lose my job.

If I lose my job there will be no money to pay the bills, and we will have to find somewhere else to live. I would rather not move, especially not with my mother. When I go, I want to leave for college, and never come back. I would never miss this old house with it's almost permanent layer of dust, the lawn that constantly needs mowed, or the memories that I won't soon forget.

I'm thinking about all these things as I speed down the highway. My shoes are bending under my calloused heel because I didn't put them all the way on. The steering wheel twists under my sweaty hands as I finally pull into the parking lot. I spot a used dirty diaper close to my parking space. That's disgusting. Who leaves a nasty diaper in a parking lot? The trash can is only five feet away!

I dash into the building, the door's handle hot on my skin. The bell rings, signaling my entry. My co-worker Keenan turns seductively and looks straight at me. It makes my heart stutter. His brilliant, bright green eyes pierce my soul, as his boyish, shaggy, bleach blonde hair lays perfectly making his eyes stand out. His skin looks as soft as a puppy and as tan as a beach. I've loved him since the first time I set eyes on him. Only, Keenan has no idea that I love him.

“You're almost late again!” Keenan calls out, his voice like music notes on a piano. I sprint to clock in and actually make it on time. My heart feels like I have just ran a twelve mile race and won, I was so scared. I calm down as I grab my apron and tie it on, walking out to the lobby.

I work at a hotel restaurant with Keenan, and I have for almost two years. We wait tables and serve the posh people their expensive yet exquisite cuisine. It's most known for it's baked chicken, which is low in calories while also looking delicious. The restaurant has a huge eating area where almost two hundred at most can fit. I get to bus most of those tables at least five times a night. When the children spill their juice on the mohair carpet, I'm expected to clean it up immediately. The obnoxiously rich people demand their food as I clean up their child’s messes.

Keenan gives me a high-five as I walk at a fast pace into the kitchen. There are already too many orders for me to handle at once. The chef is starting to yell profanities because Keenan and I aren't extraordinarily swift at taking out the platters. Keenan winks at me and starts yelling French back at the chef.

I grab a few of the platters and look at which tables to take them. As I walk into the dining area I see that there are people from what looks to be the Bronx at one of them. This is an odd occurrence. Most people come from more distinguished places. I bring the food over and ask which one of them ordered the spaghetti. The man looks extremely irritated. He makes a grab for the tray and knocks all of the orders I had carried out, onto the floor.

I shriek in fright, not expecting this impatience. I try to clean up all the food as fast as I can. Keenan rushes over to aid my attempt at picking up the caviar and escargot. The man is getting angry at us cleaning instead of serving him.

“WHY THE HE** AREN'T YOU SERVING ME MY DA** FOOD?!!!” I shrink in fear and try to hurry. Keenan isn't as intelligent and doesn't follow my example. He stands up, and in an attempt to defend me, he screams back, “WHY DID YOU KNOCK ALL THIS S*** ON THE FLOOR IF YOU WANTED SERVED SO FAST?”

Keenan doesn't notice that the man was pulling something out of his coat, and who I assume is his wife starts to stand up. I slowly rise and begin to tell Keenan to stop when we hear a blast. For a moment nothing happens. Then I feel the warming sensation on my chest. It almost feels as if someone poured hot tea on me. Then the pain hits. It is so excruciating that I drop to the ground and go numb. My vision goes blurry, and all I hear is more bangs and Keenan calling my name.

I suddenly see his face beside mine, but his eyes are closing faster than I can breathe out his name. I don't feel anything. I can't hear anything. I can't even see his face anymore. I don't know what's happening, and I'm scared. Everything is fading, and all noises are a dull roar. I'm dieing, I realize. That pain is in my heart. That man has shot me in my heart.

It figures that today I would die. I knew I shouldn't have gone home today. I knew that I should have kept running. My thoughts are starting to not make sense, and my inner voice is getting quieter in my own head. His last word was my name. Rose. That's the last word I got to hear in my short seventeen years. Rose. How sad. Rose. I wonder when I'll bleed out enough to not hear myself. I learned in health class that it only takes seconds, but it's feeling like forever.

The only thing echoing in my head right now, other than my thoughts, is that word. Rose. I'm about to die. The pain is exploding, and all I want to do is cry out for my mom. I can't breath. I feel like I'm drowning. Rose. Why did that man shoot us? Where's my mom? Why isn't she here? Does she know I love her still? I want to tell her how sorry I am. Rose. How I should have been nicer and told her that every day. I want everything to go back to normal. I miss my mom. I even miss my dad. Even though . . .





Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!

bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback