Running Away

May 14, 2009
By , San Luis Obispo, CA
Running shoes. Just artificial leather and polyester stitched together; laced up with strings that can’t be used on anything but shoes. Obviously well-worn, well-used, and a little tattered. Several spots of mud decorate the sides of my footwear; and there’s a tear from when the neighbor’s dog found them on my door step.
As if I care. At least they’re good for one thing: the one thing I’m good at. I kneel onto one knee and examine my sock-covered foot for a moment. “No Boundaries” they declare in grey, across my toes, striking against the white. I like my feet, even covered. They are my favorite part of me. They’re the only part of me diligent enough to take me somewhere. Impatiently, I slip the indigo Adidas tennis shoes over my industrious toes, and pull them behind my conscientious heels. Ready. At last.
No one’s home. Typical, but all the better. No one to know I’m gone, no one to miss me. Good. They wouldn’t miss me anyway.
I stand up, deliberately slowly, and feel a burning flame ignite inside my calves and quadriceps. It grows, and then I’m standing – straight and tall. I take a step, relishing the sensation of the spongy padding inside my shoes embracing the contours of my feet. Like my mother used to embrace me. At one time; years ago.
Another twelve and one-half steps later, I am standing squarely in front of my door. The handle rests eagerly six inches away from my hand. Just one turn, a push, and I’m free. And that’s what I do. I twist the sleek, brass knob and nudge the door open. Another door, another opening, another choice.
The sky is draped with heavy clouds, dark with the weight of rain. The breeze gently pulls my hair to one side. Let’s go! It whispers, Come this way.
I inhale deeply. The air is icy, and hits my lungs sharply. I take another breath.
Then, I run.
I feel a thousand unearned weights, worries, obligations, fears, and burdens fly off my shoulders; out of my mind. Gone. Free. And I run.
My heart pounds with each step; and I race, on my two feet, far away from past, present, and future. Far away from pain, anxiety, and anguish. I run. I fly.
Smiling, I take to the skies.

And that’s what running shoes are. A little weathered, sure; a bit scuffed, perhaps. But they’re more than just shoes. They are freedom.





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