Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

Running This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

By
     Thump. Thump. My heart beats as the boy’s feet hit the pavement. Tattered sneakers with faded soles and frayed shoelaces scratch along the sidewalk as I watch from behind my blinds. I’ve never been out there. Maybe I never will be. For now, sitting behind this window every morning is enough. For now, I’m content to watch a red-headed, freckle-nosed boy sprint back and forth along the street, spraying bits of broken glass and gravel on either side of him, a Red Sea of debris from nights past.
I find myself wondering if his feet bleed. With all the shattered bottles on the street and his battered shoes, his heels must be taking a beating. It must be the same with his whole body, since every day’s the same. He comes in his shorts and a T-shirt and his beat-up shoes, and he runs. Back and forth, down and along. Sometimes he goes for 20 minutes, sometimes I watch him for hours. To anyone else, it would seem mundane, but for him and me, it’s heaven. For a little while, you forget who you are and what you’ve done, because it doesn’t matter who sees you. It’s just watching one foot moving in front of the other.
Then again, this boy doesn’t move, he flies. He glides. God must be proud of him. The look on his face while he travels is cherubic. I am entranced by it. I study it. For as long as he runs, I watch those features, and I listen to his rhythm. As I look at my reflection in the glass, I find that I can’t distinguish one tranquil expression from the other, or his feet from the sound that reverberates inside my head, that occupies my thoughts.
And I don’t even know his name.
I’ve thought of who he might be. I imagine him as a boy with a hard life and a tough demeanor. A boy with a fiery temper the color of the locks that cover his head. He runs to prove to his parents that he’s worth something. Some days, he’s the boy no one notices, and the road is his only friend. I picture him sitting alone at lunch and thinking about how long he’s going to run that day. It’s something that absorbs my thoughts. All it is, is a boy running back and forth.
Nothing has ever intrigued me more.
***
Thump. Thump. Blessed release comes with each thud of my shoes on the sidewalk. I love this street. I run on it every day, ever since I saw the girl in the second house on the right peek from behind the blinds to watch me. She’s done it every day for almost a year. I wish she would come out. She is pretty, and no one ever waits up for me.
Today I’ve been running for two hours, and still her face lingers there at the window. I wonder why she watches, or if she has always sat by that window all day. I don’t think she even knows I see her there. I don’t think she cares. Every day’s the same. She sits in the same position, chin in her hands, the most peaceful smile I’ve ever set my eyes on spread across her glowing face. As long as I’m running along this street, she’s watching, keeping track of me.
I wonder if she thinks I’m crazy. Am I a source of entertainment or fascination? Sometimes I can’t tell. Whatever she thinks of me, I keep coming back. I’ve tried to run other places, but the scenery, the feel of the road slicing at my feet just isn’t the same. The blisters are a fair price to pay. The feeling I get from an audience is more than compensation.
I used to run to get away from all the chaos in my life. Now I run for her. I don’t even know her name.
I wish I did.
***
On a street littered with debris, a boy with hair the color of the setting sun paces up and down, his usual routine - until he hears another set of steps beside him. Turning to see the company he has acquired, he nearly loses his balance as the young woman’s face, the one who has been watching him for days upon days, comes into view.
“The girl from the window,” he whispers, breath coming in short, strained intakes.
“Caitlin,” she informs him, as their footsteps fall into a unified pattern.
The boy thinks it is a beautiful name. Nothing else needs to be said.
So they run.


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





Join the Discussion


This article has 13 comments. Post your own!

LegendKeeperThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
today at 1:34 pm:
very, very good.  
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
Dreamer13This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Nov. 2, 2012 at 12:44 pm:
I absolutely love this piece! keep writing :)
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
AlwaysDanceInTheRain said...
Nov. 12, 2011 at 9:03 pm:
Love this!!! So soothing and simple! I absolutely love it. Sorry for the advertising but.... Check out my work sometime please :)
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
AllanaCal said...
Aug. 29, 2011 at 10:40 pm:
This was a very sweet, calming piece. I enjoyed the way you transitioned from first person to third. Very impressive. I'm still wondering what the boys name is, though!
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
Roxanne said...
Dec. 16, 2009 at 7:01 pm:
I just love it. Nothing more to be said. The switching views as you did was just plain awesome. I don't know how to make it any better!
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
PsychoMeAm said...
Sept. 15, 2009 at 7:01 pm:
Nice, I like the way you changed your writing (I can't tell if that was on purpose or not) a little for both of the characters. Caitlin has a nice poetic flow and the boy has a simple string of feelings and thoughts. Keep up the awesome work.
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
Rachel K. said...
Sept. 15, 2009 at 6:49 pm:
That was truly PERFECT.
Beautiful story, beautiful writing.
keep it up.
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
freetorun said...
Sept. 15, 2009 at 1:46 pm:
That was absolutely amazing. It intrigues me whenever someone is able to catch so much emotion is so few words, as if you're inside the character, feeling their heartbeat, and wondering if it's yours.
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
Muntaha J. said...
Sept. 15, 2009 at 8:51 am:
I love this. It's so beautiful and it's got such a smooth flow to it.
Soothed me all along.
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
beautifulsilence said...
Apr. 15, 2009 at 11:54 pm:
that was beautiful!
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
alice t. said...
Jan. 16, 2009 at 1:21 am:
amazing
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
annna said...
Jan. 10, 2009 at 2:20 am:
that.was.so.amazing.i LOVED it!!!!!!
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
ClassicTaylor said...
Dec. 16, 2008 at 2:52 pm:
This pretty much took my breath away.
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
Site Feedback